COCOA POLICE DEPARTMENT
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Yvonne Martinez, Public Information Officer, 321-243-7812
Wednesday, March 31, 2021 5:11 PMPublic-Private Partnership Helps Officers Improve Team Building SkillsPhotos and Video(Cocoa, FL)—
Sometimes, playing games at work is a good thing. Especially when the games have built in strategies to help participants learn specific skills, such as team building, confidence building, improving communication, and recognizing opportunities to teach and learn positive life skills.
Earlier this month, six department employees, including four police officers spent a day participating in such games in order to prepare for the annual Cops and Kids Summer Camp program which is planned to begin in early June. The Community Resource Unit, through its ongoing partnership with Lifetime Counseling Center in Cocoa, solicited the assistance of Ties that Bind, a Central Florida based organization specializing in challenge course experiences that promote team building. “We’ve been working with Cops and Kids for many years,” said Steve Baggett, co-owner of Ties that Bind Inc. “The games are teaching how to communicate effectively, and it’s not just about communicating it’s about understanding and getting your point across. All the activities that we do build them in a sequence to get them to be effective communicators and problem solvers.”
Among the participants in the daylong exercises was School Resource Officer Salvatore Fogu who will serve as a camp counselor for the 2021 Cops and Kids program. “A lot of these kids, when school is over they don’t have a lot to look forward to,” Fogu said. “If we can hold activities, build more of a rapport with the community and bring these kids out to have fun and at the same time you’re building a stronger kid, a smarter kid, keeping them off the streets and out trouble, bring them to an environment where they can have fun and build a rapport with the police officers and the community; It’s hard to say no to that.”
The Cocoa Police Department began the Cops and Kids Summer Program in 2006. Its mission is to create positive interactions between young people and police officers. It also provides opportunities for children to experience unique activities in and around the local community. In 2019, the department partnered with Lifetime Counseling Center to embed mental health counselors into the camp to work with the children. The partnership was made possible through a grant from the Space Coast Health Foundation.
Sound Clip Titles: (In order of appearance)
Officer Isaac Dean, Cocoa Police Department Patrol Division, Echo Squad
Steve Baggett, Co-Owner, Ties that Bind Inc.
Samantha Washington, Cocoa Police Department Victim Advocate
Officer Salvatore Fogu, School Resource Officer, Cambridge Elementary School