Fun to spare: Cops and kids build community through bowling event

Anne Arundel County Police Cpl. James Horne and Rayne Morgan, 10, of Fort Meade, show their form during a Bowl-A-Thon organized by the Fort Meade Police Department on Jan. 14, 2017, at The Lanes. (Photo by Nate Pesce)

With a bright orange bowling ball in hand, 6-year-old Skyy Morgan eyed the 10 white pins standing at the end of the lane. Her teammate, Police Officer Melita Jefferson, leaned over to give the youngster some bowling tips.

Skyy and her 10-year-old sister Rayne were among the community members who participated in a Bowl-A-Thon on Saturday morning at The Lanes.

The two-hour event was hosted by the Fort Meade Police Department Community Policing division.

Jefferson, a member of the Fort Meade Directorate of Emergency Services, was joined by Anne Arundel County Police Cpl. James Horne and Cpl. Russ Ziebell.

“This event was created to show the community [that] we are approachable, that we are human, that we are fun,” Jefferson said. “Officers are not scary.

“The reason why we are police officers [is] because we want to help people. The purpose [of these events] is to show all of that with actions.”

Jefferson has organized a handful of events to build a stronger connection between the Fort Meade Police and the community they serve. She organized “Candy with a Cop” during the Hallelujah Festival in October and the recurring “Coffee with a Cop.”

“Each event we’ve done we’ve been able to reach the community in a positive light,” Jefferson said. “We’ve been able to build a relationship.

“I thank my department for allowing the community policing team to spread our wings and do these events. There are going to be so many more events coming up.”

For Jefferson, the highlight of Saturday’s event was bowling with Rayne.

“The best part of the event was meeting a wonderful young girl by the name of Rayne and her little sister Skyy,” she said. “Skyy didn’t want to leave us after we finished bowling. I gave the family my number and set up a date to go have lunch with both girls at their school.

“That is what it’s all about — building a relationship one person at a time. And if bowling is going to open that door, then bowling it will be.”

Jefferson and the Morgan sisters teamed up against the Anne Arundel County police officers and beat them by 1 point.

She hopes to get a Fort Meade community team to the Anne Arundel County Police bowling event at the end of February.

“We’re all under Anne Arundel County, and it would be awesome to take a team out there,” Jefferson said.

Thinking of different ways to interact with the community comes second nature to Jefferson.

“I’m a single mom and my children are the reason I can come up with ideas,” she said. “What do I want [children] to see in [police] officers?”

Officer Jefferson enjoys painting that picture.

Upcoming community events

Jan. 19: “Bullying Talk with a Cop” at 4 p.m. at the Youth Center

Feb. 18: Bowl-A-Thon from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at The Lanes

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