MUNCIE, Ind. (WTTV) – The Muncie Police Department is taking a different approach to strengthen its relationship with the community.
“A lot of these kids have never had interactions with police officers. Their perception might be the time somebody arrested or their mom got pulled over and got a tickets,” says Chase Winkle, the Muncie Police Department Public Information Officer.
Officer Winkle says instead of them thinking they’re the bad guys, they want to show them their fun side. So, they’re starting by hosting a water balloon fight versus the kids.
“There’s nothing about this that’s police work-related. None of the officers here I would even imagine have guns, handcuffs, badges. So, it’s really just showing them we’re dads and adults, too, and really big kids,” says Officer Winkle.
The officers blended right in with those participating. More than 100 kids showed up, and 10,000 water balloons were on standby. But that’s not all.
A 150-foot-long slip and slide was set up for those to enjoy.
“I think you saw from the water slide we had as much fun as the kids, too.”
The officers are taking a break from fighting crime, so they can build relationships by being a positive influence and keeping kids off the streets.
“The little kids you’re not so worried about. But the 10,11,12,13-year-old’s, what else might they be doing you don’t know.”
One of the fathers of a child participating says every police department should do something like this, because it helps deescalate situations for them as well. It helps them be seen as who they are, and that’s having fun.