Sitting in the back of a cop car or being inside of a jail cell may be a nightmare for some, but it brought joy to students in La Verne elementary schools.
The La Verne Police Officers Association hosted its first Walk With a Cop fundraiser at Bonita High School’s Glenn Davis Stadium on Saturday.
With a $25 per family admission, children from local elementary schools and the community had the chance to personally meet several La Verne police officers, look inside patrol cars and take pictures in a real jail cell.
“We wanted to do an outreach to show the community the police are your friends and they are here to protect and serve,” councilwoman Donna Redman said.
Patrol officers, detectives, the Chief of Police and members of the Foothill Special Enforcement Team were all present to take the children and their families on a personal history tour around the track.
Each station of the tour had a different history lesson.
Children learned about the chief of police, the history of the mounted police officers, the police cars and motorcycles, FSET, badges and the first female police officer.
“It’s neat being able to be up close and talk to them, it relieves the stigma against police officers,” resident of La Verne Wendy Clark said. “It makes it more personal.”
Other activities included children inspecting the inside of patrol cars and a SWAT truck, climbing onto a police motorcycle and checking out the mobile Command Unit.
A mini shooting range was set up with Nerf guns and children tested their physical abilities on an obstacle course.
“It’s important to get a hold of them at a tender age and steer them to a positive outlook on society,” Detective J. Wells said.
Wells, who came along with his sidekick Maverick, a narcotic detection K-9, seemed to be the main attraction to the children.
“I’m thrilled to see so many people walking together,” Redman said. “It’s great that so many police officers took time from their weekends to be here and build these relationships.”
Raffle prizes were also available.
A popular prize was the chance to win a ride to school with the police chief.
All proceeds from the event will be given back to the community for any family in need of special services.
Organizations such as Fallen Angels, a nonprofit program that helps families pay funeral costs for babies, House of Ruth, a women and children domestic violence safehouse, and kids sporting groups will benefit from the event.
During Thanksgiving and Christmas, the LAPOA will also provide food baskets to low-income families.
“Based on what I see, they may want to continue this each year,” Redman said.
Donations are still being accepted. Checks should be payable to LVPOA and sent to the Police Department at 2061 Third St., La Verne, CA 91750.
For additional information call 909-964-0422.
Veronica Sepulveda can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.