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‘Here to be friends’: Rock Hill, county law enforcement meet Pilgrim’s Inn children

Police officers were called Tuesday to Pilgrim’s Inn in Rock Hill. They came to hand out snow cones and meet with children.

Pilgrim’s Inn’s second annual Cops Care party that included visits with York County sheriff’s deputies, Rock Hill police officers and Paw Patrol character Marshall, a dalmatian in a firefighter’s suit that appears in the children’s show.

“The cops are here to help provide a positive role model for the children we have here,” said Christina Dixon, childcare director. “They also are good for the community to show the children they can come and talk to police officers, that police officers are their friends.”

Morton Amusement in Rock Hill donated the snow cones and a bounce house. Marshall was courtesy of Vasquez Mascot Services.

Pilgrim’s Inn is a nonprofit organization serving homeless and low-income women, children and families. Pilgrim’s Inn hosts a food pantry, shelter, transitional housing, affordable childcare and more, Dixon said.

Tuesday’s event allows officers to spend time with children in their community, said Jonathon Whiteside, an officer for 11 years who transferred to Rock Hill Police Department in 2011.

“It’s a time for us to hang out with kids, show them that we are humans, too,” Whiteside said. “We’re just here to show thank you and show the kids police officers are here to be friends.”

Kim Morehouse, crime prevention officer and assistant public information officer for the sheriff’s office, talked to the children before the party started.

“I really like to interact with the kids and talk to them,” she said.

Morehouse said there are times when county deputies assist in the city.

“Some of the kids that do come in here might be from the county,” she said. “We want them to associate us as well with Rock Hill city officers.”

Morehouse said the event helps show children police officers in a positive light.

“We know that some of these kids end up dealing with police officers in a very different, negative way. So we want to be a part of this so they can see something positive connected to a police officer,” she said. “Working with the kids is one of the most rewarding parts of being in this profession.”

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Amanda Harris covers issues related to children and families in York, Chester and Lancaster County for The Herald. Amanda works with local schools, parents and community members to address important topics such as school security, mental health and the opioid epidemic. She graduated from Winthrop University.
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