In 2002, Ebo Browne was a camper at the Lawrence Police Camp. Nine summers later, he returned to the camp and led activities with his Kansas University track teammates.
Browne, a senior at KU and Free State High School graduate, is a member of KU’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, a group dedicated to community service. The group recently won the spring 2011 Division 1 SAAC Award of Excellence.
“We’re always training so hard and working so hard in school, it’s kind of fun to just sit back and relax with the kids for a day,” Browne said.
The camp started 13 years ago to facilitate positive interactions between youths and law enforcement.
“A lot of times police don’t get positive interactions as well as we’d like,” said Ryan Halsted, Free State’s school resource officer with the Lawrence Police Department.
During the two-and-a-half-day camp, officers demonstrated techniques and tactics, such as evidence collection. They also discussed alcohol and drug abuse and the importance of physical fitness. The camp wrapped up Saturday with a game of “Pirate Ball” with members of the KU track team. Lauren Maceli, 10, said the game was her favorite part of the camp. Lauren said she plans to attend next year.
Fifty-three children, ages 8-13, attended this year’s camp. The camp concluded with a graduation ceremony and pizza party.
“It’s really rewarding to see the kids have so much fun and having so much fun with the officers themselves and being able to see them as a person and not just a badge,” Halsted said.