The Camden Police Department has planned a week's worth of activities for when local students are out of school for Spring Break.
"We partnered with Camden Downtown Network, so we have a whole list of things going on for the kids who don't get to leave Camden for Spring Break," said CPD Public Information Officer Asante Rogers.
The week kicks off on Monday, March 20, with a sidewalk chalk art contest that will continue through Friday, March 24.
"It's a springtime event, so they'll be drawing rainbows, rain – all the spring things," Rogers said. "On March 25, we'll do the judging, and whoever drew the best art will get a prize. We have the mayor as a judge, which is pretty cool."
Judging will be held at 11 a.m. next Saturday, March 25.
On Tuesday, March 21, CPD will host a virtual ride-along, which Rogers encouraged both children and adults to tune in for.
"It seems like everybody's really excited about that, which is cool. Basically, you're going to get to log in, or tune in to a live video stream, and they'll be getting a police (point-of-view)," Rogers said.
The virtual ride-along will stream live on the CPD's Facebook page. Those who watch will be able to ask questions in the video chat for the officers working to answers.
Two virtual ride-alongs are scheduled for next Tuesday: one from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., and another from 6-8 p.m.
"I hope everybody tunes in, not just the kiddos. It'll be good to see what actually goes on," Rogers said.
On Thursday, March 23, the CPD will host an outdoor movie at Carnes Park from 6:30-7:45 p.m.
"We're still working on the movie. It's going to be a family-friendly movie, hopefully spring-themed. I was thinking about the 'Bee Movie,' but I'm not sure yet," Rogers said.
Movie-goers will also get the chance to participate in a pie eating contest that evening.
"It'll be a tin filled with whipped cream. They'll have their hands behind their back, and whoever wins will get a prize as well," Rogers said.
On March 24, the CPD will host a bike safety course, which will culminate in participants racing one another through an obstacle course.
"We'll make sure the kiddos have everything correct – size, fitting – and then we'll get to race on a little obstacle course," Rogers said.
Those who attend the bicycle safety class will also get to see the insides of a police truck and car.
"They'll get a full-blown tour of that," Rogers said. "They'll get a tour of the uniform, and we'll drive them around the parking lot with the sirens on, the full works."
The bike class will be held at Thrive Church, 246 California Ave. SW, from 2-4 p.m.
Citizens Police Academy, a seven-week course that gives local residents the chance to learn about the full scope of police work, starts the following week on Tuesday, March 28 and continues through May 9.
All of the events are part of an effort to give local residents a look at what it's like to be a police officer, Rogers said.
"Before I came in here, I thought police were just arresting people for traffic stops, or it was mostly just patrol, things like that, you know? But there's actually so much that goes in to being an actual police officer," she said. "We need to bridge the gap between community and police... We can't police a community if there's no trust.
"That's why we're trying to do all these events, because we want the community to rely on us, not just for calling when something bad happens; we want this to be a resource for the community, so it's really important to build the trust in the community," she continued.
All of the CPD's Spring Break events are free and open to the public. For more information, visit facebook.com/camdenarpolicedepartment.
Bradly Gill contributed reporting.