Cops N Kids Picnic

Cops N Kids Picnic
Cops N Kids Picnic

Every year, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office and volunteers from around the area team up to bring children, law enforcement officers and other first responders together for food, fun and fellowship at the annual Cops N Kids Picnic, and this year’s event was the biggest and best yet, Chief Deputy Clint Hodgkinson of OCSO reports.

Last year’s picnic drew approximately 2,000 people to Claiborne Park. At this year’s event, the 21st annual Cops N Kids Picnic held June 12, even more folks showed up to join in the festivities.

“This year’s Cops-N-Kids picnic was a huge success,” said Chief Deputy Hodgkinson. “The turnout this year was around 2,300 people.”

According to him, the annual picnic offers children an inside look at tools utilized during emergencies, educating them while also familiarizing them with the responders and rescuers responsible for saving lives on a daily basis – all while having tons of fun.

“It’s an event that first responders look forward to every year, probably just as much as the kids,” said Hodgkinson. “It gives us a chance to interact with the children in a positive setting and give them an opportunity to explore the equipment first responders use in everyday emergencies.”

Children who went to the picnic had numerous activities and delicious treats to choose from. Horseback rides were available from horses Pepper and Rose, provided by Breyanna Marshall, owner and trainer at Tenacious Performance Horses. Kim Cao of Neighbors Emergency Center was on-hand with prizes a-plenty for the kids, who were all winners at the ball toss Neighbors provided. OCSO Sgt. Kevin Tate played engineer at the picnic, using his ATV as the engine for a train of cars conveying smiling children across a portion of the park. Chief Deputy Hodgkinson himself welcomed wide-eyed youngsters into the back of the county’s new six-wheel drive SWAT vehicle. Pappy’s Ponies and Party Rentals provided a “Barn Yard Friends” petting zoo where children could get up close and personal with ducks, bunnies, goats, ponies and more. The Texas Park and Wildlife Department displayed mounted animal heads, rifles and live alligators. EMT Broderick Joseph from Acadian offered ambulance tours to curious kids. North Orange Baptist Church provided popcorn, sno-cones and cotton candy for attendees. Johnnie and Billy Smith from the church were helping out at one of the park’s pavilions as members of the youth group were spinning the cotton candy. Drinks, links, hot dogs and numerous other activities were available for picnic-goers.

Hodgkinson said OCSO is thankful for all the efforts and donations that make the Cops N Kids picnic a reality.

“The Orange County Sheriff’s Office organizes the event every year, but we could not pull it off without the help of the many volunteers, agencies, organizations, and businesses in the community,” Hodgkinson asserted.


— Sharon Brooks