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Westport Police play capture the flag with middle schoolers BY Annabelle iannone '21

Cover photo by Annabelle Iannone '21

In an intense game of capture the flag, middle school students were up against police officers to see who could capture the most flags.

The Westport Police Department and the Westport Youth Commission put together Capture-A-Cop with the Westport middle schoolers to bring the kids and officers together in an environment where they could have fun. According to DoingItLocal.com, this event takes after Dodge-A-Cop, which is held in November for Westport high school students. This year’s Capture-A-Cop was held Sunday, Sept. 16, at Jesup Green.

The yellow team (right) strategizing their game plan while Sergeant Jill Ruggiero (left) eavesdrops in attempt to counteract their plans. Photo by Annabelle Iannone '21

“We are trying to bring the younger generation together, before they even come into highschool, to get a pre-knowledge about the relationship between cops, what they do and to make them closer,” Jenny Fan ’19 said.

This was the second year that Westport held Capture-A-Cop for their middle schoolers in order to foster positive relationships with the police force “I think it’s a great opportunity to expose the middle schoolers to the police officers and show them that law enforcement are people too,” Sarah Corneck ’21, Westport Youth Commission member, said. “They aren’t just there to enforce the rules or get you in trouble.”

Officer Ned Batlin (right) stopping eighth grader Colin Chaple (left) from capturing his teams flag. Photo by Annabelle Iannone '21

At the event, eighth graders were introduced to the newly appointed SRO, sworn law enforcement officer, Ed Woodbridge, stationed at Staples High School, so they already know who to find for help when they come into high school next fall.

SRO Ed Woodbridge (left) running from eighth grader Jack Ginsburg (right), to capture the flag and bring the red team up to a 2-1 lead. Photo by Annabelle Iannone '21

And with wide smiles on all of the kids’ faces, the game seemed to find success at bringing all the kids a fun time together. Jack Ginsburg ’23, mentioned he couldn’t wait to play in next year’s Capture-A-Cop.

Eighth graders, Will Fitch (left) and Colin Chaple (right) smiling after scoring a point for their team and winning the round. Photo by Annabelle Iannone '21

The Westport police officers were also enjoying themselves and were proud of how the day came to an end. “It’s a ton of fun,” Sergeant Jill Ruggiero said. “It's a nice way to gather officers and younger folks and it is a fundraiser.”

Sergeant Jill Ruggiero (center) pulling flags from her opponents sending them to the prison zone and stopping them from scoring a point. Photo by Annabelle Iannone '21

Capture-A-Cop serves another purpose apart from bonding the town; it also raises money to help community. Participants were suggested to donate $5 which goes towards the ALS Therapy Development Institute.

Eighth grade participants enjoy a rewarding pizza after an hour of working hard and having fun. Photo by Annabelle Iannone '21

“Helping local causes and local families is what we’re all about,” Corneck said.

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