TEXARKANA, Ark. (KTAL/KMSS) – The Texarkana Arkansas Police Department kicked off its annual PRIDE Academy summer camp for young kids this week.

The department-hosted program is for about 100 incoming sixth-graders from Arkansas Middle School. PRIDE stands for ‘Personal Responsibility in Daily Effort.’

The program has been on hold for the past two years due to COVID.

TAPD says one of its main goals is to build lasting relationships between students and officers.

“To reach out to kids before they get into the teenage years and start trying to reach them before they go down a wrong path,” said Kelly Pilgreen with TAPD. “Some of these kids don’t have the home support that most do and we just want to give them some team building, respect-building.”

Pilgreen says since the academy started in 2012, the juvenile crime rate has decreased by about 40 percent.

The program will run through Friday from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. each day.