Police use career day to foster good relations

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ARDMORE, Okla. (KXII)-- Just two weeks ago, two Dallas police officers were trying to arrest a man at a Home Depot when the suspect opened fire.

Officer Rogelio Santander was killed, his funeral Tuesday. As of Saturday, his partner Crystal Almeida was still in the hospital.

It's at this time of heightened violence against police- 21 on-duty officers killed nationwide since January- that Ardmore police are working to improve community relations. And they're starting young.

"If they see us in the public, [we want them to know] not to be afraid to reach out to us and talk to us, and let them know that we're people as well." Corporal Juan Galicia said.

Officers took advantage of career week at Lincoln Elementary Thursday to speak with fourth graders, and teach them about different aspects of policing; such as SWAT, investigation and patrol.

"I enjoy it, I don't think we do it enough," Galicia said. "And it was good to be able to sit in front, I don't even know how many, we had a good group of kids."

For teachers who organized the event, building those relationships is a goal they share.

"Our students sometimes have affiliations with police officers that are negative, and we want them to see the positive things police officers do for them," Math and science teacher Kelly Franks said. "They want them to be safe, and they care about their future like we do."

And the kids enjoyed it just as much as the officers.

"I thought it was pretty cool," Fourth grader Kauri Roberson said. "I liked how they showed us all the gear, and everything they had."

The takeway?

"Never be scared of the police," Fourth grader Carson Donahue said.

"And that the police- nobody- we should set our differences," Fourth grader Abigail Guzman added. "People may seem scary to us, but they're never too scary."

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