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Camp aims to build better bonds between students, school resource officers

Area students attend the Camp CP with a Deputy learning about different jobs within the Kent County Sheriff’s Department

Multi-districts — Andrew Nagy, a Kent County Sheriff’s crime scene specialist, demonstrated how he uses a brush to help dust for fingerprints, encouraging students to give it a try.

Kenowa Hills sixth-grader Varae Veatch took a brush, dipped it in black fingerprint powder and began swirling it across paper to get the prints to appear.

“It was pretty cool,” Varae said. “I didn’t know that they used a brush to find fingerprints to help solve cases. It was interesting to learn about.”

Comstock Park fifth-grader Calvin Beurmann tries on riot gear

Varae was one of about 50 students from Rockford, Sparta, Comstock Park, Kent City, Kenowa Hills and Northview school districts who attended the recent Camp CP with a Deputy at Comstock Park’s Pine Island Elementary. It was an opportunity for students to get to know school resource officers who work in their districts and about jobs and responsibilities at the Kent County Sheriff’s Department, said Deputy Kresten Green.

Counselors and school resource officers select fifth- and sixth-grade students from the districts to participate in the camp. Green said the goal is for the officers and students to build bonds so students feel comfortable coming to the officers when something comes up at school. 

Twenty-one officers are stationed in Kent County schools through the Kent County Sheriff’s School Resource Officer Program, a cooperative between schools, the community and law enforcement. It is a proactive approach to law enforcement focused on working with educators, students and parents to help reduce crime in and around a school district and its community. 

Students visited several stations that focused on different divisions within the Kent County Sheriff’s Department such as the scuba diving team, marine patrol, corrections team, fingerprinting unit, K9 unit, the mounted unit and drones. They also paired with the officers for fun: bowling, visiting a virtual reality game room and going to Craig’s Cruisers.

Part of getting to know each other was through questions, and students asked a range of them, like, “Why does K9 Kai have titanium teeth?”

“Because he tried to chew out of his cage which was causing him to damage his teeth and could cause serious injury,” said Deputy Krystal Stuart, who is handler of the German Shepherd/Belgian Malinois mix. “This way it protects his jaw.”

Another question: Do officers always wear gloves when collecting fingerprints?

“I would because it is really dirty and …when we are doing stuff like this we don’t want to introduce my fingerprints on it,” said Crime Scene Specialist Andrew Nagy. 

Next to the fingerprinting station, Sgt. Nicholas Reamer and Deputy Michael Shoop, who both work in corrections, helped students try on riot gear. 

“It’s hard to breathe,” said Rockford sixth-grader Ari Mikrut as he wore a gas mask and took a large plastic shield from Reamer. “And this is heavy. I am not sure how they do all of this.”

Read more from Comstock Park: 
Tech Center students triumph at HOSA, heat to state
Clean-up from tornado damage moving quickly

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Joanne Bailey-Boorsma
Joanne Bailey-Boorsma
Joanne Bailey-Boorsma is a reporter covering Kent ISD, Godwin Heights, Kelloggsville, Forest Hills and Comstock Park. The salutatorian for the Hartland Public Schools class of 1985, she changed her colors from blue and maize to green and white by attending Michigan State University, where she majored in journalism. Joanne moved to the Grand Rapids area in 1989, where she started her journalism career at the Advance Newspapers. She later became the editor for On-the-Town magazine, a local arts and entertainment publication. Her eldest daughter is a nurse, working in Holland, and her youngest attends Oakland University. Both are graduates from Byron Center High School. She is a volunteer for the Van Singel Fine Arts Advisory Board and the Kent District Library. In her free time, Joanne enjoys spending time with her family, checking out local theater and keeping up with all the exchange students they have hosted through the years. Read Joanne's full bio


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