There’s not a new sheriff in town – but there is a new sheriff’s initiative. The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office is kicking off the new school year with the implementation of the F.U.N (Fitness, Unity, Neighborhood) Mobile Van. The concept of the F.U.N. Mobile Van is simple – the van will be filled with sports equipment for kids to use and is free to all community members.
Deputies who patrol Lake Worth Beach will play pick-up games with kids using equipment from the van. Sheriff Ric Bradshaw is excited about new program’s objectivetonot only encourage kids to get active, but to have deputies out there with them, engaging and playing.
One of the goals of the initiative is to improve the relationship between the Sheriff’s Office and the Palm Beach County community. By providing stress-free, fun interactions between law enforcement and kids, the Sheriff’s Office hopes that the program will help kids view law enforcement as community members who are there to help them in times of need. When kids have a problem, they feel more comfortable reaching out for help if they see a familiar face.
Engaging with kids in the community not only gives law enforcement officers the chance to get to know the residents they serve – it allows them to provide education as well. Deputieswill use some of the time spent playing with the kids to talk to them about ways to keep their neighborhood safe and explain what to do if they find themselves in a situation that requires the help of law enforcement.
The F.U.N. Mobile Van also gives the Sheriff’s Office the opportunity to increase police presence in Lake Worth Beach in a way that does not increase fear or anxiety. When kids and parents are accustomedto seeing law enforcement spending time in places frequented by children, the presence of officials becomes the norm – not something to be nervous about.
The van will be on rotation throughout the West Palm Beach area as school starts up again, visiting after school programs and city parks once a week.