Junior Police Program labor of love for Brunke

John Dupont

No day of the week during summer compares to Wednesday for Robin Brunke.

Brunke, who oversees the Junior Police program for the Gonzales Police Department, considers the summer activities a highlight of her week.

"It's something I look forward to every week," said Brunke, who now works in advisory post after retiring from the police department. "I asked to continue this position, so Chief (Sherman) Jackson has me doing the program."

Brunke has worked with the program 20 of its 38 years.

The Gonzales Police Department sponsors the program, which started in early June. A graduation ceremony Aug. 1 concludes the program.

The youth activities thus far have included a tour of City Hall and Ascension Parish Courthouse, as well as forums on fire safety, bullying, peer pressure, a karate demonstration and bike safety.

A trip to the parish firing range, a first aid demonstration and a visit to the parish jail are among the upcoming activities.

"This program is very important to Chief Jackson," Brunke said. "He puts aside money each year to keep it going."

A fishing trip at New River Canal (near the civic center) highlighted last week's outing.

Brunke, police officers and members of the Explore Program -- a group of teenage volunteers with the police department -- oversaw the fishing trip.

"I just love working with the kids," Brunke said. "Why should I do anything else?

"The kids need you. Both parents work, and they need to learn the extra safety things -- or just go fishing," she said. "Parents don't always have the time or money to do these things with kids."

Brunke considers her work a labor of love.

"I did it for free for two years because at the time I was on reserve, and until they created my post, I did it as a reserve," she said. "I do it because I love the kids."

She said she wouldn't trade it for anything.

"Sure, it's exhausting sometimes -- mentally and physically -- but during the summer, it's just one day a week," Brunke said. "I work all week just to have this day."

Youngsters fish along the banks on Irma Boulevard in Gonzales. The fishing trip was part of a youth program offered throughout the summer by the Gonzales Police Department.