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Community joins CPD for ‘Police in the Park’
Boykin Park -
Camden Police Department (CPD) DARE Officer Karen DeVors (left) serves up hotdogs, chips and pickles to kids from the neighborhood around Boykin Park on Saturday morning during the first 2019 “Police in the Park” event. The CPD started the series of park visits around the city in 2018. CPD Chief Joe Floyd decided not to cancel the event, despite recent shooting incidents nearby, as a way to show officers would not abandon people in the area. - photo by Martin L. Cahn/C-I
Boykin Park - Greg's Groceries
The contents of a Greg’s Groceries box are laid out on a table during Saturday’s “Police in the Park” event at Boykin Park. The boxes are put together by Serve & Connect, a charitable organization formed by Kassy Alia Ray, whose husband, Greg Alia, was shot and killed in the line of duty while serving as a Forest Acres police officer several years ago. Serve & Connect Outreach Coordinator Macey Silano, who was on hand, said the boxes are filled with dry goods and given to needy families. - photo by Martin L. Cahn/C-I

Despite recent shooting incidents -- including one just several days earlier at a bus stop about a block away -- the Camden Police Department (CPD) made the decision not to cancel its first 2019 “Police in the Park” event at Boykin Park on Saturday. CPD officers, with assistance from volunteers and representatives from other agencies, cooked up hotdogs; played basketball, horseshoe and corn hole throwing; danced; and otherwise interacted with children and their families at the park.

The event, sponsored in part by Piggly Wiggly, ran from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., with estimates of at least 150 people attending during that time.

Also joining in were representatives of Serve & Connect, a charitable organization founded by Kassy Alia Ray several years after her husband, Forest Acres Police Officer Greg Alia, was killed in the line of duty. Serve & Connect brought a large number of boxes filled with “Greg’s Groceries.” Macy Silano, the organization’s outreach coordinator, said the boxes are filled with dry goods and given to needy families.

“Officers can also take them on calls involving families they know are in need,” Silano said.

(The online version of this story has been updated to include the correct name of the grocery boxes.)