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Kids in Dauphin County take a walk with K9 Kix

The Swatara Township Police Department hosted a "Walk With K9 Kix" event at the Harrisburg Mall.

DAUPHIN COUNTY, Pa. — Kids in Dauphin County had the opportunity to meet a new four-legged friend wearing a special badge.

On Saturday, the Swatara Township Police Department hosted a "Walk With K9 Kix" event at the Harrisburg Mall. They teamed up with Penn State Hershey Medical Center to teach children about pedestrian and traffic safety, along with nutrition and healthy-eating habits.

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Police say it's important for kids to know what to do before they cross the street, and K9 Kix was on-hand to help them learn.

The event also featured special giveaways and coloring activities. Officers say it's a great way to build stronger relationships with members of the community, especially the kids.

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"A lot of kids are either scared of the police, intimidated or they're just not quite sure, so having an event like this provides an opportunity for kids to get to know us on a one-on-one basis, but also get to see we're friendly people just like everyone else. We're someone they can trust. They learn a little bit about safety information, and then they also get to meet Kix, so when they see us out in their neighborhood, they see a familiar face and they learn to trust us, and we're someone they can go to if they need help," said Corporal Brandon Pokrop with the Swatara Township Police Department.

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Swatara Township Police say Kix not only helps with community service events, he's also trained in narcotics and apprehension. Saturday's event was free and ran from 10 a.m. until noon.