Third graders at Sulphur Springs Community School got a glimpse of what it is like to be a police officer.
Officers from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department visited the elementary school Thursday morning to educate students on the importance of following rules and being a good citizen.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Department’s Detective Dan Finn, Deputy Betsy Shackelford and Law Enforcement Technician Maricela Perez showed off their police gear and let students shuffle through the back of a patrol car and a detective car.
In the seventh year Detective Finn has gone to the Canyon Country school to speak to students, the program has grown from a small one-classroom program to the entire third grade.
“Their job [teachers’] is not to just teach you math and history, their job is also to teach you to be good citizens and that is important to us as police officers,” Finn said to the crowd of almost 100 third graders.
Finn also stressed the importance of being responsible, considerate and respectful students. He said these characteristics will translate to their lives as adults.
“It’s really important that you start being responsible students now,” he said. “We all make mistakes, but when you do you want to admit your mistake and be honest about it and learn from your mistake.”
To make the conversation of following rules relatable to young children, Finn explained how the discipline they receive now, in the form of timeouts and detention, is a lot different from the discipline they will receive as adults.
“When you get older, when you don’t follow the rules outside of school, we get called,” he said. “When you get in trouble with the police those things follow you for forever.”
The officers also explained the importance of only calling 911 in emergency situations and staying away from strangers.
“If someone says, ‘I know your mom and she told me to pick up and take you home,’ you don’t go with them,” Finn said. “Those are the things where you need to call 911 or call an adult.”
At the end of their discussion, the officers showed the students their many tools including a bullet-proof helmet, a bullet-proof vest, pepper spray, Taser and radio.
“These are just tools for us so we are always prepared,” Finn said. “These tools that they give us are not for fun, they are for us to protect you guys.”
On Twitter as @_ChristinaCox_