Second annual Can Cops Cook event to benefit child advocacy center

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BRATTLEBORO — Typically police officers are honored for protecting and serving their community, but on Saturday they will be awarded for their cooking.

On Saturday, April 16, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the American Legion, the second annual Can Cops Cook? event will take place to benefit Windham County Safe Place Child Advocacy Center. Eighteen Windham County law enforcement officers will prepare and serve up sample-size potions of their best, homemade dish; the public – who will also serve as judges – will vote on their top three dishes and decide which chefs should be crowned the winners. There will be a top prize for the winner in both the main dish and dessert category, which includes gift certificates to local restaurants as well as an engraved, "Can Cops Cook Champion 2016" spatula or cake server.

"These fundraisers are important because they assist in funding the necessary/mandatory trainings for all Special Investigators," said Vermont State Police Det. Sgt. Tyson Kinney. "These trainings allow the investigators to better serve the victim and provide crucial resources to the family.

"Depending on which training is attended, we are able to open our investigative toolbox in a broader way," he said. "This provides Investigators an opportunity to submit a better case for prosecution."

The mission of Windham County Safe Place Child Advocacy Center/Southeastern Unit for Special Investigations is to facilitate an integrated, multidisciplinary response to victims of child physical and sexual abuse and victims of adult sexual assault that reduces trauma, promotes prevention and advocacy, and supports healing for all in the community affected by these offenses. In support of this mission, the center provides a safe environment for individuals who may have been abused to come to talk with professionals.

Tickets for Cops Can Cook are $10 at the door, $5 for children under 12, and kids under five are free. There will also be a cash bar included at this year's event.

The only limitation for the competition is that each officer much present a dish they made themselves; in other words, it cannot be store bought or cooked up by someone else. The public will receive a ballot where they are able to place their top two votes for both the dessert and entre category. If individuals feel one dish stood out far above the rest, they may place both of their votes for the same person. Officers will have a station top where the name of their agency and dish are listed. The champions will be named at the end of the evening.

According to Alyssa Todd, executive director and child interviewer at Safe Place, the money raised goes toward program support such as training for team members, law enforcement, Department of Children & Families, or basically any kind of specialized training. Todd said the funds raised also financially assists families with gas money to help them get to their appointments.

"We work with a lot of different community agencies and a key player in the work we do is law enforcement," said Todd. "We feel that it's really important that people view law enforcement in a positive way."

Last year's Can Cops Cook Champion was Corporal Melissa Evans from the Windham County Sheriff's Department. Her winning dish was a southern breakfast, which involved a biscuit, gravy and doughnut.

A total of 18 officers are signed up from Brattleboro Police Department, Vermont State Police, Windham County Sheriff's Office, Bellows Falls Police Department, Dover Police Department, Fish and Wildlife and the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Maddi Shaw can be reached at 802-254-2311 ext 275


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