January 21, 2016 Chicago, Il. Chicago Police Officers are making a connection with kids especially at Chicago Westside Christian School where they are meeting kids in a different environment.Fox32 did a segment interviewing Officers, kids and teachers who spoke about perceptions of Officers from every standpoint.
media has portrayed Officers in a particularly poor light giving people from teachers to kids a fearful outlook of Officers causing most to turn away from them when officers approach. However One teacher Karen Trout said that she had an idea. To have Officers spend more time with the kids in a lighter atmosphere.
It was game on. Officers showed up for basketball and the kids were happy to participate. The reporter who spoke with people from the event that was filmed Melody Mendez asked Brina Taylor who is in 8th grade what her impression of Police officers in general was to which she replied “It’s like if you see a police car coming or something, like go to the other side or go the other direction, or watch out there goes police,” Taylor said. “It’s a sense of fear around the police.”
That idea may slowly change now that she sees officers in a different light knowing that not all officers are the same and that each officer is an individual and that each encounter is different as well.
“We’ve seen a growing distrust between the community and the lack of relationship that we see between the police officers and the neighborhood itself,” said Karen Trout. “We want the kids to feel these police officers are people that genuinely care about the community,” Trout said.
Bernard Cosey, 13 was also interviewed and his mother is a Police officer. he knows that when he hears disparaging remarks about Police officers that the other kids are not talking about his mother directly. As a matter of fact he knows that his peers think of his mother differently. However he still understands that officers in general have received a reputation that is one of fear.
“Some of them know that my mom’s a police officer, but they know the nice side of my mom and they know that all police officers don’t act the same,” Cosey said. “All police aren’t bad just because you’ve had one bad experience with them it doesn’t mean,” Taylor said.
One of the Officers who showed up to play with the kids was also interviewed. Officer Jamil Brown works for the Chicago Police Department. “You want to have CPD show the community that, you know what, we care,” he said.
In large Cities, this may be one of the best ways to do community Policing. Events such as these can happen in weekly or bi-weekly times and allow kids to meet officers and get to know them better. Communities can grow with Police as the Officers learn more about the problems that the people they serve face andt he community learns to trust the Officers that are serving them.
Photo’s Credit: Fox32
What are Officers in your community doing to connect?