by Dennis Dalman
The sixth annual Sartell Cookout with Cops broke attendance records, with more than 250 senior citizens and special guests showing up to socialize and to learn on Aug. 22.
The event took place at the St. Francis Xavier Church’s large indoor Gathering Place. Police and volunteers served a cafeteria-style lunch as the long lunchline extended all around the indoor space. So many people showed up, in fact, police had to rush out to buy more hamburgers and buns.
Lunch included hamburgers with all the fixings. During and after lunch, the audience enjoyed conversation and listened to several informational demonstrations. Officer Dan Miller of the Offender Task Force told about the new drug drop-off box at the Sartell Police Department and other facts about narcotics-safety for seniors. Sartell Fire Marshall Butch Rieland addressed the topic of fire safety and the battery-exchange system for seniors. Derek Whitehead, an officer from the Waite Park Police Department, brought his canine “Cato” to perform canine demonstrations for the crowd.
Police Chief Jim Hughes, who also helped out with tasks at the cookout, said he and all officers were extremely pleased with the big turnout. Cookout with Cops, which is a free event, began six years ago during a meeting of Seniors and Law Enforcement Working Together, a group that reinforces good communications among seniors and police officers. Someone suggested having a cookout with cops, and the program began. Attendance has grown by leaps and bounds every year since.