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'Project Lift' brings NC officers and children together

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Police officers are working to strengthen their relationships with children through Project Lift

Before the officer-involved fatal shootings in Louisiana and Minnesota, before the deadly ambush in Dallas, a kids' summer camp in North Carolina was bringing law enforcement and children together.

Friday, Project Lift celebrated the vital relationships being built.

On the Halifax County side of the Roanoke River, local sheriffs, police, and firefighters join in as campers and their families cap off three weeks with Project Lift.

The summer camp, started by Christon Martin, aims to empower young people and facilitate relationships between them and those wearing a badge.

"Our kids really look up to those guys. When they step in there with that uniform on, it's like...[the kids] don't know what to do with themselves," Martin shared. "They're like 'Hey! That's the sheriff!'"

Growing up, Martin found himself on the wrong side of the law.

"I want my kids to know that if you travel this road, you're going to face consequences. But if you choose to be successful, you can do anything that you want to do."

The camp is teaching dozens of kids how to build strong character and trust in law enforcement. This is all happening as they are hearing of the police shootings in parts of the country.

"People like to murder people for no reason when they never harmed them," camper Jayden Ellis mused.

Though this week's events weigh heavy on their hearts, these public servants are here to prove trust doesn't have to be lost.

"The majority of our citizens are good people," said Northampton County Sheriff Jack Smith. "It's only a small percentage that really want to kill and do things like that. Just like in law enforcement, there's a few bad apples."

Law enforcement in Halifax and Northampton counties are now working to schedule a community meeting in the coming days to bring police and community members together to talk about the recent shootings.

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