Tazewell County hosts event to connect cops with kids

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EAST PEORIA, Ill. — Law enforcement officials are giving children a chance to connect with first responders.

Tazewell County held its first “Cops, Cars and Kids” event Tuesday afternoon along West Washington Street in The Levee District.

The event included appearances from the East Peoria Police Department, East Peoria Fire Department, U.S. Coast Guard, Tazewell County Sheriff’s Department and more. Children who attended were given the chance to sit inside of squad cars, fire trucks, boats and on top of police motorcycles.

Community Resource officer Megan Taylor said the idea came from Peoria County’s Emergency Vehicle Expo. She said she wanted to bring something like that to Tazewell County for children to experience.

“We were wanting to have an event for the public to come down and meet local first responders,” Taylor said. “We wanted them to have a positive interaction with police officers and firefighters in East Peoria.”

Among the parents who brought their children to the event, Zach Retzer praised the police for this opportunity. Retzer said it is important for his young son to have a clear understanding about the importance of law enforcement in the community.

“It’s important for him to have an un-skewed view on how things look in society,” Retzer said. “It’s also great seeing the cops out here interacting with the community like regular people.”

The event also featured mock obstacle courses for kids to participate in as well as a K9 demonstration in Levee Park.

Taylor said this is an event she wants to make annual and they’re planning to have their second Cops, Cars and Kids event next fall.

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