The Doña Ana County Sheriff's Department Community Policing Division will team up with Sun Lanes Saturday, Aug. 21, from 9 a.m. to noon, to offer youths aged 6 to 16 an opportunity for free bowling and entertainment in a tobacco- and alcohol-free environment. Parents from all over Doña Ana County are encouraged to take time during the event to get children of any age fingerprinted as part of the Doña Ana County Sheriff's Department Ident-a-Child program.

Doña Ana County Under-Sheriff Frank Ruiz said he was contacted by Sun Lanes owner Phil Kinzer about a month ago about ways in which Sun Lanes could “give something back to the community.” From that conversation, Ruiz said, sprang an idea designed to educate parents and children about a wide variety of services and programs offered through the Doña Ana County Sheriff's Department.

In addition to free bowling and free rental shoes during the morning hours, Sun Lanes will offer a reduced-price kids’ menu, along with dancing and DJ services in the Jose Murphy’s dance hall. Six uniformed deputies will be on hand to interact with parents and children. In addition, McGruff the Crime Dog will be on hand to greet participants and give out free coloring books and other gifts.

Also on hand will be Casey the Literacy Dog. Casey is a golden retriever who travels the area’s schools to help promote literacy as part of a nationwide program. Casey is a friendly dog, whose handler will be available to discuss the literacy program and give parents information about how their children can participate.

Kinzer said he will work with a local radio station to provide a live remote with giveaways to promote the event. He said if the event is successful, he will team up with the Doña Ana County Sheriff's Department again for future events.

“We’re aiming this event at kids 6-16,” Kinzer said. “There’s no reason we can’t do similar programs in the future for this age group, as well as younger kids and older teens. We already offer free bowling to seniors every Monday from 10 a.m. to noon. We are actively looking for ways to contribute to this community, and I’m delighted to work with Sheriff Juan Hernandez, Undersheriff Ruiz and the Community Policing Division to begin a sustainable youth program.”

Kinzer said he will suspend all alcohol and tobacco use on the premises until the Saturday event is concluded, saying he wants kids and parents to enjoy every area of entertainment his facility has to offer. Doña Ana County Sheriff's Department patrol cars will be parked near the entrances of the building to attract people to the event.

For more information, call county Public Information Director Jess Williams at (505) 647-7229 or Doña Ana County Sheriff's Department Community Police Coordinator Ronnie Granados at (505) 647-7762 or Sun Lanes at (505) 526-8855.