Free Summerton children's event meant to bridge gap between cops, kids

BY SHARRON HALEY
Special to The Sumter Item
Posted 6/15/18

SUMMERTON - Ready. Set. Engage!

Clarendon County Sheriff's Office is inviting youngsters to an afternoon of free food, information and a competitive game of basketball between CCSO deputies and athletes from Scott's Branch High School/Middle …

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Free Summerton children's event meant to bridge gap between cops, kids

Posted

SUMMERTON - Ready. Set. Engage!

Clarendon County Sheriff's Office is inviting youngsters to an afternoon of free food, information and a competitive game of basketball between CCSO deputies and athletes from Scott's Branch High School/Middle School as part of the Ready. Set. Engage! annual celebration.

From 4 to 6 p.m. today, CCSO deputies, staff and volunteers will be serving free food, including hot dogs featuring Carolyn Reed's famous chili; fish; chicken; pizza; drinks; snow cones; cotton candy; and more. After the basketball game, children will be able to dance to music provided by DJ Al.

Ready. Set. Engage! is an annual celebration hosted by the sheriff's office to bridge the gap between local law enforcement and the community, particularly the youth, but adults are also welcome to attend and participate.

Deputy First Class Annett Smith, who coordinates the event, said the food is donated by the sheriff's office and local individuals and businesses.

"We have some very generous businesses and individuals who help us out with food donations," Smith said. "We have people who donate their time and equipment to cook the fish and chicken and serve the snow cones and cotton candy. The sheriff's office also provides food and products for the event. It's all about the community working together."

Ready. Set. Engage! allows deputies to chat and get to know the youngsters in a friendly environment.

"I don't like it when I hear parents tell their children that if they don't behave that law enforcement would lock them up," Clarendon County Sheriff Tim Baxley added. "That bothers me greatly. That instills children at an early age to be scared of law enforcement. I want children to know that we are there to help them. Even if they're in trouble, we're there to help them and maybe come up with a solution."

Baxley said he wanted to host the program because students are out of school and some are at home because their parents are working.

"We are here to protect them. We're not here to scare them. We want them to know that if they have a problem or need help that they can come to us," Baxley added.

If anyone has any questions about today's event, please contact Smith at (803) 435-4414 or (803) 460-3976.