Roanoke County hosts 21st annual COPS Camp

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ROANOKE CO., Va. (WDBJ7) It's all smiles at Camp Roanoke this week for the 21st annual COPS Camp.

Will Chadwell/WDBJ7

Fifty-three middle school aged students are sleeping away from home this week. County police officers get to spend time with students doing fun activities like the zip line and the shooting range.

On top of the fun, there's also crime prevention education, a look at SWAT and K9 units, and a chance to get a better appreciation for the badge.

Roanoke County police said this type of engagement has always been important, not just right now in the current climate.

"We're all about building that relationship with the community, and I think that's truly important." Roanoke County Police Department Crime Prevention Coordinator Officer Daniel Bruch said. "They get to see the officers out here having fun with them, canoeing, doing the rock climbing wall and enjoying themselves, and they can see that not only are we police officers, but we like to have fun."

New funding from the State Attorney General's Office this year helped offset some of the costs for the program. Next year's camp is expanding to offer a high school aged program at Explore Park.