Sheriff’s Department shares life lessons with third grade students

Third grade students interact with a classmate dressed in tactical police gear at Sulphur Springs Community School during a demonstration on Sept. 28, 2017. Austin Dave/The Signal
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Students at Sulphur Springs Community School learned the importance of following the rules and acting responsible, considerate and respectful following a visit from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Thursday.

About 100 third grade students from Jenna Baker’s, Jeanine Michel’s, Gina Woolner’s and Dana West’s classes intently listened to the officers as they told them about their jobs and showed off their police gear.

“We are here to help you.  We are here to keep you safe,” Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Detective Dan Finn said.  “If you see us, wave hi.  We’ll always talk to you guys.”

Deputy Cheryl Hartman and Detective Dan Finn dress a Sulphur Springs Community School student in a balistics helmet and a bulletproof vest on Thursday Sept. 28, 2017. Austin Dave/The Signal

Detective Finn was joined by Traffic Deputy Cheryl Hartman and Law Enforcement Technician Maricela Perez, who reminded students how to stay safe at home, in the community and in their cars.

The officers’ visit culminated weeks of classroom lessons about the rights of citizens, the importance of participating in government and the positive impact each student can make on society.

“What you need to do now is start learning how to behave and follow the rules so you can be a good citizen,” Finn said.  “What citizenship means is being a good person and helping out your community and that is important.”

Both the teachers and the officers hoped these lessons would inspire students to do the right thing throughout their adult lives.

With the assistance of Deputy Cheryl Hartman, a third grade student interacts with a sheriff’s department patrol SUV at Sulphur Springs Community School during a demonstration on Sept. 28, 2017. Austin Dave/The Signal

“You really need to start following the rules now so when you get to junior high school, high school, college and the working world, then you’re already a good citizen,” Finn said.  “That’s why there are rules at school… the school is trying to build your character now.”

Perez also explained the importance of only calling 911 in emergency situations, like if a crime is occurring or if someone needs medical attention.

“Know what your emergency is and what your address is,” she said.  “It’s so much more helpful for us to know where you are to get you help right away.”

Third grade students interact with a sheriff’s department patrol SUV at Sulphur Springs Community School during a demonstration on Sept. 28, 2017. Austin Dave/The Signal

To help students remember this information, Finn gave them a “homework assignment” and asked them to tell their parents to write down both their phone numbers and addresses on a place by their phones.

“So if something were to happen and you had to call us, then you’d know exactly where you are and you have your phone number,” he said.

In her presentation to the students, Hartman emphasized traffic safety when it comes to cell phones, seat belts and speeding.

“Cell phones are technically against the law,” Hartman said.  “If you guys see your parents doing that you can tell them not to.”

At the end of their visit, the officers showed students their police tools, let students shuffle through the back of a patrol car and gave the students coloring books and stickers.

With the assistance of Deputy Cheryl Hartman, a third grade student interacts with a sheriff’s department patrol SUV at Sulphur Springs Community School during a demonstration on Sept. 28, 2017. Austin Dave/The Signal

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