NEW HAVEN -- For five weeks, police officers are in a new training. They're learning how to be a kid again.
"When we’re out there or even in the schools, they’re like, 'oh that was my camp counselor.'" says Sergeant Ron Ferrante, the Youth Services Supervisor for the camp.
The Police Activities League is a summer camp in New Haven. Police officers from area universities and the New Haven Police Department fundraise year round and then run the show come July.
"It's all about entrenching ourselves in the community and what better way to do that than with our children?" says New Haven Police Chief Otoniel Reyes.
"I came from a background where police weren’t really that good in my family, but now I get to meet these nice police officers and they changed my view," says Julian Rodriguez, a camp counselor. "I love hanging with my police officer friends now."
Part of building that community relationship is showing the kids exactly what New Haven Police Officers do as part of demonstrations. Monday, the New Haven police department dive team did a demonstration.
High school students get to work as counselors. Some were once enrolled in this same camp.
"It’s making the community better," says Michael Hall, a camp counselor. "I can cooperate with kids and get to know them better; also have a good connection with them."
Kids at the camp are between 8 and 13 years old and participate in activities like swimming, arts and crafts, and an end-of-summer talent show. The program runs through August 2.