Cops for Kids is a relatively new program, but it already has established a successful track record due the devotion of its volunteers and supporters.
The Cleveland Cops For Kids’ mission is to establish and strengthen positive relationships between police officers and Cleveland’s greatest asset, our kids. This program allows officers who encounter children who are victims of crime, abuse, neglect or other traumatic situations to respond not only with compassion and concern for their welfare, but also provides the means necessary to support timely aid and assistance, such as food, clothing, gifts, and other care.
Annual Fishing Outing Fishing Days
Six years ago then Police Chief Michael McGrath brought together police officers from the Cleveland Division of police and 30 kids from the community for a morning of Lake Erie fishing on a charter fishing boat. The event was met with great appreciation from both the officers and the kids, as they got to “hang out” together in a relaxed atmosphere doing fun things together. The day proved to be a great learning experience for all.
Recognizing the value of this event, McGrath wished not only repeat it, but to grow the program to reach as many kids as possible if the funding could be obtained.
When the Cleveland Police Foundation began operation five years ago, funding was scarce. In order to continue the fishing day the next summer, a couple of board members personally donated funds to sponsor it and another successful fishing outing was in the history books. By the third year, two fishing outings were held – one on Lake Erie; and another larger, land-based outing at the pond in Rockefeller Park on MLK Blvd. Again, another great time was had by all.
With the help of the Cleveland Police Foundation and funding received from an Ohio Department of Natural Resource grant, the following year grew to five fishing outings… one for each of the five Neighborhood Police Districts. The objective was simple: to get kids from neighborhoods together with the officers that work in them so they could get to know one another. It worked, and the Cops For Kids Fishing program was born.
In 2016, with the Republican National Convention being held in Cleveland and the resulting demand on police personnel for training, planning and preparation, it was feared that the outings might have to be tabled for the season. When the kids from the neighborhoods and the officers from the Districts heard that might be the case, they requested that the CPF do what it could to host them again.
Not wanting to disappoint, and with another grant from the ODNR, five more Cops For Kids Fishing Outings were held and 175 kids from throughout the city participated, along with over 50 officers on the charter boats and even more on the land-based “meet and greets.” During lunch at all of the outings, the kids had an opportunity to visit and speak with officers from the Canine, Motorcycle, Mounted Units, SWAT and other units.
Wayne Bratton, Captain of the Holiday Charters vessel and host of three of the outings, probably said it best when he commented, “It’s great to see the kids and officers working together, learning and fishing, and having fun. That’s what it’s all about.”
CPD Cops for Kids Cargo Truck
The CPD Bureau of Community Policing unveiled its Cops For Kids cargo truck at the second annual “Voices Against Violence” community event held at Lincoln Park in the city’s Tremont neighborhood August 2016.
The truck is decorated with images communicating positive messaging about community engagement and includes the CPD, CPF and police charities’ logos. Although referred to as the “Cops For Kids” truck, it serves many purposes such as supporting the community outreach initiatives by the members of the CPD and its affiliated charities.