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Saturday, December 12, 2015

Campbell County Cops and Kids Event Outstanding

20th Annual Event Produces Highest Dollar Amount Raised 
Fort Thomas Police with the kids they helped pick out gifts with. L to R: Nick Hoffman, Adam Peak, Adam Noe, Derek Faught, Casey Kilgore, Sean Donelan, Zac Rohlfer and J.J. Hoover of the Cincinnati Reds. FTM file. 

The 20th Annual Cops and Kids event was held this morning at Meijer in Cold Spring, Kentucky. There were 37 officers from many of the counties police departments there to help 40 kids pick out some clothing and Christmas items.

The relationships fostered through this program and other programs sponsored by Campbell County F.O.P. Lodge 10 are designed to enhance the value of service provided by law enforcement. As well as to give the next generation a better understanding of the role of the police officer in their community. 

This year was the most money the F.O.P. Lodge 10 has raised for the event. Because of their efforts and many partnerships throughout the community including Meijer, each child was able to spend $400 on essential clothing items and toys.

Nick Heiert, of the Campbell County Police Department, was one of the main organizers of the event this year. 

L to R: James McKenna (Campbell County Sheriff's Office), Jimmie Poynter (Bellevue Police Department) and Nick Heiert, (Campbell County Police). FTM file. 

"We look forward to Cops and Kids every year as a way to meet children in the communities we serve in a role outside of law enforcement," he said. "Unfortunately, a police officer is often involved with kids when they are going through the hardest parts of there lives either at home or school. Because of this, sometimes kids can view the police negatively. We want to show both the children shopping and their families that police officers care and that we desire to make a strong impact in the community. There's no better way for us to do that than by positively affecting the lives of children."

Many of the children that are chosen to participate in the Cops and Kids program live below the poverty level. James McKenna, of the Campbell County Sheriff's Office said that it's important to be involved with these families to show them that the police are here to help them. 

"If it weren't for this event, some of these kids wouldn't have a Christmas. Kids don't understand financial problems. If there are no gifts for them on Christmas morning, they just know that Santa didn't come to their house this year," he said. "Poverty is here and it affects our neighbors in Campbell County. Every kid should have a Christmas."

J.J. Hoover of the Cincinnati Reds also came to support Cops and Kids. 

"I think this is a cool event. The community needs to support the police officers as much as the officers support the community and I just thought it was a cool atmosphere to get involved with. You get to shop for kids and make Christmas a little more fun for them which is a win-win," he said. 

The Fort Thomas Police Department had seven officers present, which made them the second most represented department in the county behind Campbell County. "This is always a great day for us. Seeing the smiles on the kids faces is very rewarding," said Lt. Rich Whitford.

Here's what some of our other officers had to say:

Det. Adam Noe and his "kid," Noah. FTM file. 
Det. Adam Noe:
"I've been doing this event since 2005 and the interaction with the kids is great. To be able to do something for these kids that may not have a traditional Christmas is outstanding. My new friend, Noah, is extremely excited. He's got a lot of energy and making some new friends, practicing some Star Wars moves."
Making new friend. Noah and Ben. FTM file. 

Officer Adam Peak:
 Peak was joined by his "kid" Jacob. He was looking for games, Legos and an X-Box game. He said it was fun to shop with the police and it was nice because they weren't scary at all like he thought before the event.

"We do this to show the kids that there's a different side to us. We are all just normal, good guys. We like to help each other and help others," he said. "This event means a lot to me, especially now that I have two kids. It's good to help the kids that need the most. If we can be role models or have them have someone to look up to, that's even better."

Jacob and Ofc. Adam Peak plotting their route. FTM file. 

Officer Nick Hoffman:
Hoffman's "kid" was Dominick. He wanted pants and shirts and of course, a sky viper. He said he'll remember getting doughnuts and a drink with his new friends, the police. 

"I like doing this event to help the kids and it also helps me to get into the Christmas spirit. It's all about the kids and I really like helping to start their holiday off right," said Hoffman. 

Dominick with his new friend, Officer Nick Hoffman. FTM file. 

Lt. Casey Kilgore:
 "This is a great day for all of us. We are all very happy to be here. When I was a kid, I had a great Christmas every year and to come out and be able to give an awesome Christmas to these 40 kids today is an honor and a privilege for all us of here in Campbell County. A lot of people had to come together all year long to make this a great event and they did that. All we have to do is show up for the kids and have a good time and we get to see the smiles on their faces."

Lt. Casey Kilgore and his "kid" getting ready to fill their cart. FTM file.

Officer Sean Donelan:
Donelan, who invited Cincinnati Reds Hoover and Brandon Phillips as well as Fort Thomas residents Sarah Jane Henderson and Alyson Perriman, said he fits in well at this event, because he describes himself as a big kid.

"I think that's a benefit to me as a police officer, to have that youth and excitement and a certain amount of having a kid-mentality. I have a 10-year old, so I can relate to what some of these kids want for Christmas, so it's fun to relate to them on that level."

"I've done this event several times with the Wilder Police Department and it's always been a great experience but to be able to do this community service in a Fort Thomas uniform is pretty exiting. It's a nice representation of not only who the Fort Thomas Police are, but it's a great thing for all of Campbell County and our F.O.P. My favorite part of this whole deal is to know they'll get a coat, a hat or shoes. But then they make the turn into the toy aisle and we get to cut up a bit."

Officer Sean Donelan helps explain what a "Yugioh" is to Lt. Casey Kilgore. FTM file. 

Officer Derek Faught:
Faught was joined by his wife, Sarah.

"I think this event builds trust between kids and the police. A lot of times parents will tell kids, 'if you don't behave the cops are going to drag you off to jail' and that's not the perception that we want them to have. We are here to help. We're mommies and daddies too and we care about kids. It also goes a long way for the parents to see how we interact and care about their children, too. It's an awesome way to give back to the community."

Det. Adam Noe, Officer Derek Faught and Sarah Faught picking out shoes. FTM file. 

Officer Zac Rohlfer:
Rohlfer was joined by his wife, Kristi. 

"It's important for me personally to be here because the public perception of police is at a low, so anything we can do to fight that and improve that perception is a good thing. This is a great community outreach that starts with the kids and ends with the parents," he said. 

Rohlfer said his wife, Kristi, has also been involved in this event for the last five years. 

"I enjoy getting to see the kids every year. They always enjoy it and it's fun to support my husband and all the other officers. I do the shopping, because we always have a girl and he tallies the gift totals, just like in real life," she said. 

Kristi Rohlfer helps their "kid" as Zac oversees the mountain of pink toys. FTM file. 

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