JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Area Port of Jacksonville held its first ever multi-agency Take Your Child to Work Day on Friday with 10 different local and federal agencies, family members and over 40 children in attendance.
Area Port Director Jennifer Bradshaw kicked off the day by welcoming everyone and thanking all CBP components and attending agencies for their service. Presentations commenced with CBP officers explaining to the children and families what their Moms and Dads do as CBP officers on a daily basis. This part of the day also included presentations by CBP agriculture specialists who allowed the kids to look at insects through a microscope and look for bugs in the nearby environment. All of this took place under the watchful eye of Officer Harry, the 9-foot-tall CBP inflatable mascot, who entertained the children.
The children moved outside to get an up-close look at various vehicles from the local fire department and boats from the U.S. Coast Guard. Activities included learning different bomb disposal techniques from the Sheriff's Office Bomb Squad and fundamental marksmanship skills during a U.S. Border Patrol presentation including a staged paintball exercise.
The children had a chance to meet K-9 units from both agriculture and the commercial cargo processing side. The presentations included setting up suitcases to mimic the port scenario and having the beagles find fruit and other prohibited items. Detection dogs also searched for drugs, currency and firearms.
The Take Your Child to Work Day closed out with CBP Air and Marine Operations flying a helicopter over the pier to the delight and amusement of all the children present.
“It is important that families know how hard their parents work to keep them safe on a daily basis,” said Area Port Director Bradshaw. “Functions like these represent one of the best avenues to accomplish just that”.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection operations in Florida include travel and trade facilitation and securing over 1,200 miles of the coastal border. The Area Port of Jacksonville encompasses the northern part of the state all the way through the panhandle covering the ports of Panama City and Pensacola.
For news updates and to learn out more about CBP operations in Florida, follow @CBPFlorida on Twitter.