When it comes to police, tensions among Chicagoans are running a little high to say the least. Fostering positive experiences and relationships between police and kids is a good way to start mending those fences and building stronger communities. This weekend, Lake County is hosting a great event where families can get up close and personal with local law enforcement.
Since 2005 the 2016 Law Enforcement Exhibition has been considered one “big open house” for local law enforcement to show off the latest equipment and connect with the community. It takes place at Hawthorn Mall in Vernon Hills and as far as kids are concerned it’s a huge indoor touch-a-truck event!
More than 20 agencies and departments will be spread out throughout the mall offering information, games and activities for visitors, and showing off vehicles. In addition to the trucks there will be K-9 demonstrations. Last year, my little guy gleefully ran around the mall for hours and wouldn’t leave until he had tried out every single vehicle.
If you can’t make it to the expo this weekend, next weekend on Sept. 17, the Mundelein Police Department will host their own open house (10 a.m. – 1 p.m. at 221 N. Lake St). The open house will feature both the police and fire departments and will have demonstrations and exhibits, including a Kiddie Combat Challenge, side-by-side fire demonstrations, K-9 and evidence collection demonstrations and Air One and Flight for Life helicopter displays.
For those in the Wauconda Area, the Wauconda Park District hosts regular Kids vs. Cops sports programs. Upcoming programs include dodgeball (Nov. 11 and again in December) and basketball (Sept. 9, 23 and Oct. 14). Both of these programs are free but do require registration. Kids that really want to go all out can register for Paintball with a Cop on Nov. 8. A fee of $88 applies.
Even if you can’t make it to an event, make a point to at least smile and wave when you see an officer. You would be surprised at how far a smile and a kind gesture can go these days.