Prince Frederick, MD – This past weekend, the Calvert County Sheriff’s Office put on their annual Back-to-School Shop with a Cop in cooperation with both the Calvert Optimist Club and FOP Lodge 109. The event is one of two Shop with a Cop events the office puts on every year. The second takes place during the holiday season.

Community involvement is a top priority to the Sheriff’s Office and “tied with everything we do,” according to Cpt. David Payne, Public Information Officer with the sheriff.

Payne explained earlier last week that the Sheriff’s Office has always participated in community events as well as holding events of their own. 

Among the programs and camps the Sheriff’s Office offers aimed at reaching youth are Camp Junior Sheriff and Camp D.A.R.E.

The camps focus on middle school and elementary school-aged respectively.

Junior Sheriff was held in July and focused on teaching the preteens who attended “the importance of discipline, self-respect, integrity, and teamwork” through both physical and mental activities.

Camp D.A.R.E. engages incoming 5th graders in much the same way, but with more of a focus on personal responsibility, decision making, and other communication skills. Payne expressed the importance of this camp which fills a void left by the D.A.R.E. lessons that would occur during the school day in years past.

Cpl. Glenn Libby, School Liaison Supervisor for the sheriff, explained that teaching young kids about the dangers of the online world emerging around them, the dangers of drugs and alcohol, and other safety issues is important for students in the community. “[The advice] sounds very basic, but some of these kids have never heard it from their home.”

The Sheriff’s Office’s relationship with the community extends past camps and programs. According to Payne, all but a few reside in the county, and many of them grew up here. With a personal stake in the well-being of the community and a “positive outlook from the community… [not] taken for granted,” the Sheriff’s Office mutually benefits from giving back.

Shop with a Cop is one of the most meaningful ways the office goes above and beyond for the community, “[trading] in their squad cars for shopping carts” the event aims to help those in the community who need it the most.

Meeting at the bowling alley early Saturday morning, the children are greeted with a backpack jammed full of school supplies before eating breakfast and heading out to get clothes and shoes from Peebles and Olympia for the upcoming school year. The event ended with a free movie at Flagship Cinemas.

With police recruitment and retention on the decline throughout the country and state, a strong community connection can help combat the negative trend.

Payne concluded the interview stating, “Part of the allure of working here is that it’s Calvert County. It’s because we are Calvert County and people enjoy working here where most of them grew up, and where their kids are going to school.”

For more information on Sheriff’s Office and other events, visit the county’s events page.

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