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  1. #1
    121Traffic's Avatar
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    I'm scheduled to teach...

    I need everyone's help.

    My girlfriend is a teacher who works with kids in the Kindergarten and 1st grade age group. A few weeks back, she asked if I would be willing to come to her class for an hour or two and do something cop-related with the kids. Keep in mind this is an inner city type school, no SRO, with mostly minority kids with parents who run the gamut anywhere from being scared of the cops to outright hating them. She's trying to change their perception, and as such asked me to come in uniform, etc.

    Of course, I told her I would. Yesterday she reminded me that the date is coming up here on Friday! I have no idea what I'm going to do. She said I'm free to talk to them about whatever I want...drugs/alcohol, stranger danger, whatever. They're good kids, and I want to have fun with this, but I realize I don't have the first idea of what to talk about with them, or how to engage them about saefty stuff.

    I know that a LOT of our guys and gals here have some good experience with dealing with kids of all ages, and I'm here to graciously solicit any idea from the members of O/R.
    "If anything worthwhile comes of this tragedy, it should be the realization by every citizen that often the only thing that stands between them and losing everything they hold dear... is the man wearing a badge." -- Ronald Reagan, in the wake of the deaths of 4 CHP troopers in the Newhall Incident, 1970

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  2. #2
    Ducky's Avatar
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    Offhand, I'd pull the Officer Friendly routine out and dust it off. The kids may have been told now that cops are evil, etc. and you're going to need to show them that cops are their friends and are there to help if they're in trouble. Stick with light subjects, they don't need to associate the uniform with uncomfortable or frightening thoughts. Maybe a mini "driving" course, with the kids walking, pretending their driving? And a review of what the signs mean (stop, yield, no U turn, etc?) Just a thought.
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  3. #3
    Terminator's Avatar
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  4. #4
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    You could start off by asking them if they know what the police do, and go from there based on there answers.

    "The police put daddies in jail"
    "The police beat people up"

    OR
    "The police help people"

    At least then you'll know exactly what they think of the po-leece, and can work on changing their opinions, if necessary.

    You could ask them why someone would call the police, and stress that you call the police when you need help, etc, etc.

    That or you could hold up your gun and say "I'm the only one in this room, qualified to handle this weapon!"
    And then shoot yourself in the foot a la DEA style.
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  5. #5
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    I don't know if this would be doable, but they would probably get a kick out of a mini obstacle course like they might have at academy.

    You could talk about physical fitness, they would see you as a person, and have fun.

    Does your department have any kid oriented material? Ours has coloring books about stranger danger and when to call 911, we also have little plastic badge pins and stickers.

    If you have any tactical gear, like helmets and shields, so they could see what it looks like. There have been cases where children hid from fire-fighters in their gear because it scared them. If they saw you with your riot gear, they would know it's not scary. Sad to say, but in this day and age, they may encounter a situation at school where police have to respond in their armor.

    Just don't shoot yourself in the foot like that DEA agent!
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  6. #6
    Willowdared's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ducky View Post
    Maybe a mini "driving" course, with the kids walking, pretending their driving? And a review of what the signs mean (stop, yield, no U turn, etc?) Just a thought.
    This is a great idea too! They could also ride trikes through the course.
    Molly Weasley makes Chuck Norris eat his vegetables.

    Do not puff, shade, skew, tailor, firm up, stretch, massage,
    or otherwise distort statements of fact.
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  7. #7
    Ender's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ducky View Post
    Offhand, I'd pull the Officer Friendly routine out and dust it off. The kids may have been told now that cops are evil, etc. and you're going to need to show them that cops are their friends and are there to help if they're in trouble.
    agreed, 100%. I'd make sure to include a few safety tips and maybe a "don't do drugs" chant, but overall I'd make sure to leave them with the idea that cops are their friends. If they are inner city kids, they may well have parents that talk about the big mean poh-leese officer all the time. Get it under their skin that a uniform and badge is nothing to fear, and something to look for in a time of need/crisis.

    good luck and have fun!
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  8. #8
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    I'm going off the beaten path here a little. Being a parent I found it necessary to discuss, on a regular basis though, morals and principles. This may sound improbable to someone in kindergarten but I personally don't think so. There are so many things that are taught to kids from questionable backgrounds but I have rarely found that doing the right thing is one of them. In an area where the police are not a welcome sight I believe it to be entirely probably that the children are or will follow in the "parents' " footsteps. That of course is doing the wrong thing. Everything we do is a learned behavior in some fashion. In speaking to children I always try and take the oportunity to create an atmosphere of discussion where I can show kids how, not why to have a positive action with law enforcmement. Just my opinion.
    Do not war for peace. If you must war, war for justice. For without justice there is no peace. -me

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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by PDawg View Post

    Does your department have any kid oriented material? Ours has coloring books about stranger danger and when to call 911, we also have little plastic badge pins and stickers.

    If you have any tactical gear, like helmets and shields, so they could see what it looks like. There have been cases where children hid from fire-fighters in their gear because it scared them. If they saw you with your riot gear, they would know it's not scary. Sad to say, but in this day and age, they may encounter a situation at school where police have to respond in their armor.

    Just don't shoot yourself in the foot like that DEA agent!
    I think those are great ideas. I also think that what jmur said is good, too - make it interactive and ask why (and how) someone would call the police, or ask what they think a policeman does. Tell them why you wanted to become a police officer. Ask if any of them want to be cops, and ask them why or why not.

    Dispel the myths and during the dialogue let them see that you're a person - that you like video games and McDonald's (just a couple of random examples) just like they do, but drill into them that the police are the good guys and that you're always there to help.




  10. #10
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    I found a Child Safety FAQ at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

    http://www.missingkids.com/missingki...US&PageId=2814

    You could go through that and use it as an outline for your talk. Tie in the role of police as protectors for children. Most of these kids have probably been threatened with having the police arrest them or something so try and undo that by talking about how we help children etc etc.

    Good luck!
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  11. #11
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    Remember, these aren't adults, these are very young children. Whatever your presentation is, it's important to keep it very simple, and be friendly.

  12. #12
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    For the age group maybe a "don't accept candy or rides from strangers" talk? My dept has "junior officer" badge shaped stickers and coloring books that we give out.
    "never bring paws to a gunfight" - Jenna

  13. #13
    LawnMM is offline Oppressor of Crackheads
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    My department has a mugshot program that we can search by names and dates of birth. As an idea for the 'dont do drugs' angle get yourself an early picture of a prosty you know. Then flip forward a few years and print another one.

    Ask the kids, "Do you think she's pretty?" Holding up the early photo, hopefully you can find a prosty that was at least mild looking to begin with. When they say 'yeah' or whatever, hold up the second photo..."What about her?" NOoooooooooo

    Its the same lady kids...thats what happens when you do drugs! Nobody here wants to be ugly right? So what aren't you gonna do?

    Druuuuuuuuuuuuuugs


    Kids are very visual and that might make an impression.

  14. #14
    narcodog is offline Rookie
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    I have one this several times. What I have done is first get down to their level, I mean sit on the floor or one of their chairs. They are gonna ask you about your firearm, how many folks you shot stuff like that. Be truthful with them, if they ask you a question that you don't want answer tell them why it would be better if you don't talk about that. Do a little show and tell. See if you can get some small badges even if there are the stick on type. If you can take your unit have them look it toot the siren, turn on the lights they love that shit. Explain about the screen and why they are in the unit. When you are about to wrap things up let them ask you questions and be honest as I stated before. I love talking to that age group. I hate fourteen year olds. Engage them in conversation be active with them make them laugh and you laugh also. You will have a great time.
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  15. #15
    Ducky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LawnMM View Post
    My department has a mugshot program that we can search by names and dates of birth. As an idea for the 'dont do drugs' angle get yourself an early picture of a prosty you know. Then flip forward a few years and print another one.

    Ask the kids, "Do you think she's pretty?" Holding up the early photo, hopefully you can find a prosty that was at least mild looking to begin with. When they say 'yeah' or whatever, hold up the second photo..."What about her?" NOoooooooooo

    Its the same lady kids...thats what happens when you do drugs! Nobody here wants to be ugly right? So what aren't you gonna do?

    Druuuuuuuuuuuuuugs


    Kids are very visual and that might make an impression.
    Might not want to use local mugshots for this one, as one of them might pop up with "That's MY momma!"
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  16. #16
    Ender's Avatar
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    OH! And let them play with your handcuffs. Within a minute or two one of them will invariably be cuffed up. After you see that happen say, "Oh, be careful not to put those on...I lost the key!"
    --

    Ender

    "And if the band you're in starts playing different tunes, I'll see you on the dark side of the moon..."

  17. #17
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    I have two kindergarteners and we just had our deputies at their school. The biggest hit was letting the kids climb around inside the police car and playing with the siren lol

    Our deputy talked to them about not talking to strangers, say no to drugs, and how cops were their friends and a safe person to go to. Also let the kids ask questions. They handed out *deputy* star stickers and police coloring book.

    Good luck and have fun!
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  18. #18
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    Like others said, keep it simple, friendly, etc. Kids love visual aids, so if you're taking the cruiser, use it.

    From my experience on school talks be careful with how many questions you take. Unless of course you want a ton of overtime. Kids that age will be asking every question you could imagine, and then some.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by LawnMM View Post
    My department has a mugshot program that we can search by names and dates of birth. As an idea for the 'dont do drugs' angle get yourself an early picture of a prosty you know. Then flip forward a few years and print another one.

    Ask the kids, "Do you think she's pretty?" Holding up the early photo, hopefully you can find a prosty that was at least mild looking to begin with. When they say 'yeah' or whatever, hold up the second photo..."What about her?" NOoooooooooo

    Its the same lady kids...thats what happens when you do drugs! Nobody here wants to be ugly right? So what aren't you gonna do?

    Druuuuuuuuuuuuuugs


    Kids are very visual and that might make an impression.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ducky View Post
    Might not want to use local mugshots for this one, as one of them might pop up with "That's MY momma!"
    Google faces of meth and click on images if you want and you will find a plethora of information and images that you could use. Including the faces of meth website. As if you didn't know that already. Just trying to help.


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  20. #20
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    Some great advise here. Narcodog hit the nail right on the head when he suggested that you sit down with the children. Getting down to their level is very important when you want them to view you as their friend and just another person. For a 5 or 6 year old, a Police Officer in uniform towering over them can be very intimidating.

    Little kids at that age are otherwise very easy to talk to and you cant hardly go wrong. Talk to them briefly about safety and then let them ask questions. You really dont need too much material because they will give you plenty with their questions. Aside from the normal questions like how many people have you shot and so on, you will be surprised at some of the good questions they can ask.

    Most important is have fun with them. Make them smile and laugh and get them to feel comfortable with you and you will make friends for life. You will be surprised when 10 years from now you run into some kid and they remember you as "the cop that came in to talk to my first grade class". Little kids are the best audience.
    "Any community's arm of force - military, police, security - needs people in it who can do necessary evil, and yet not be made evil by it. To do only the necessary and no more. To constantly question the assumptions, to stop the slide into atrocity."

 

 
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