Group aims to strengthen bonds between police and young people
By Devese “Dee” Ursery
Police officers from agencies in the Metro East and children from those communities will join forces to raise money to help other young people enjoy new experiences.
Officers from departments including Collinsville, Maryville and Glen Carbon and others will host a Police and Children Together (PACT) Music Trivia Night. Doors will open at 6 p.m. and the event is scheduled for 7 p.m April 21 at the Caseyville Community Center, 909 S. Main Street.
Reservations are accepted until April 7 and can be made by contacting Officer Courtney Colbert at email@example.com.
Collinsville Police Officer Temple said the event will be raising money to go towards the PACT Camp for activities and transportation for kids during camp week. Through the program, officers have taken children to places like the City Museum, Altitude Trampoline Park, Edison’s and the Collinsville Aqua Park.
“We will be taking them on a week of fun and adventures,” Temple said.
PACT is composed of police officers, mostly school resource officers and D.A.R.E. officers, who work with school-aged students in their respective districts to build relationships. According to Temple, PACT camp has been around since the mid 90s, but hasn’t held a camp since 2019.
“After COVID and a turn in new SROs taking control running PACT Camp for Collinsville, we were brainstorming ideas to help raise money for the event aside from traditional donations,” Temple said. “We discussed hosting Bingo or a trivia night and the idea took off.”
Officers select students based on their availability to interact with them during their everyday duties at the school, as well as knowledge of issues which might place them at-risk of delinquency. The camp is offered to around 40 children ages nine to 12 and officers take up to three children at a time to a week-long day camp.
“We intend to provide positive summer activities and promote a positive image of police, community and themselves,” Temple said. “We provide them with breakfast and lunch and take them to do fun things in the area.
In addition to summer activities, Temple said in December, campers are given $100 gift cards and taken on a shopping spree to buy gifts before Christmas to buy gifts for themselves and family members.
“Transportation, breakfast, lunch, t-shirts and various activities are all funded by donations from the communities and businesses,” Temple said.
Officer Colbert, stated that during the camp program officers hope to build relationships with kids and make a positive, lasting impact on their lives.
According to the Glen Carbon Police Department’s website the PACT day camp program was developed in 1994 by the Law Enforcement Foundation of Illinois. The program was established to help stir kids in the right direction and to keep them from delinquency.
Locally, establishing the program was a combined effort between many in local law enforcement. Those include Temple and Officer Courtney Colbert, also from CPD, Officer Chris Flake of Highland PD, Ryan Grimes, a DARE Officer for Edwardsville PD, Jeff Hinson, of Fairview Heights PD, Frank Lefler and Maryville PD, Officer Brandon Sellers from SIUE Police Department and Officer Diane Dukart for O’Fallon PD.
The Fairview Heights PD also assisted LEFI in the initial planning of the camps and has served as the coordinating agency for the metro east campus since its inception.
If you have any questions about the camp or would like to learn more, contact Officer Colbert at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like to contribute you can make a check payable to PACT Camp and return it to the Collinsville PD, Attn Officer Colbert, 200 W. Clay, Collinsville, IL 62234.