Muncie police build relationships with community through water balloon fights

Data pix.

MUNCIE, Ind. -- Police in Muncie are finding a new way to increase community policing, and they're starting with kids.

On Saturday, the Muncie Police Department held an officers vs. kids water balloon fight at McCulloch Park in Muncie.

“A lot of these kids have never had interactions with police officers. Their perception might be the time somebody [was] arrested or their mom got pulled over and got a ticket,” said Officer Chase Winkle.

Winkle said instead of the kids thinking police are the bad guys, they want to show them they are also regular human beings.

“There's nothing about this that’s police work-related. None of the officers here I would even imagine have guns, handcuffs, badges. So it’s really just showing them we’re dads, and adults too, and really big kids,” said Winkle.

The officers actually blended in with the nearly 150 kids who participated. For the fight, officers filled 10,000 water balloons and had a 150-foot long slip and slide to celebrate after the kids beat them.

“We had as much fun as the kids too,” said Winkle.

It was a chance for the officers to take a break from fighting crime. It was also a chance to build relationships by serving as a positive influence and a way to keep kids off the streets.

“The little kids you’re not so worried about. But the 10, 11, 12, 13-year-olds, what else might they be doing, you don’t know,” said Winkle.

One father says this is the second time his children have participated in the officers vs. kids water balloon fight, but it brings a positive light to the small city of Muncie and to his children.

“I think every police department in the world should do something like this. Because it helps in the de-escalation of situations for them as well. It helps them be seen as who they are,” said Muncie resident Josh Zacharias.

Winkle says if you could not make it, you’ll have to wait until the winter for their annual snowball fight.

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