CPD officers play video games with kids to better community relations

10 months 2 weeks 3 days ago Saturday, May 05 2018 May 5, 2018 Saturday, May 05, 2018 4:03:00 PM CDT May 05, 2018 in News
By: Monica Madden, KOMU 8 Reporter
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COLUMBIA - Dozens of kids spent the day playing video games with police officers Saturday. 

The department brought a trailer full of video games to Whitegate drive near Paris road as a way to engage with kids in a positive environment.  

The police department's "Xbox with a Cop" was the first event of its kind. Two community officers, Maria Phelps and Tony Parker, got the idea from a community member.

"We try to use it as a chance to mentor kids and be there as a positive in their lives," Sgt. Michael Hestir said. 

Hestir said community outreach events like this are important in establishing trust between officers and neighborhood kids.

"We're not just showing up at a call and handling it and then leaving," Hestir said. "We're getting the chance to call somebody by name and get to know them as a person."

There were several televisions inside the trailer with a variety of video games for kids to choose from. Kids rotated in groups for a chance to play a game of their choice against an officer. 

"It's been really fun," Dylan Gordon, a second-grader who attended, said. "Most of the kids are beating the cops in the games, which was funny." 

The police department plans to host another "Xbox with a Cop" in the fall with a different neighborhood.

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