Morgan City police officers visit schools to give students positive view of police

MORGAN CITY, La. — Officers with the police department’s bicycle patrol visited several schools Thursday, a routine that officers throughout the department started doing several months ago, to let students know that the police are here to help them, Morgan City Police Chief Travis Crouch said.

Some children only know the police from the view of a seeing a loved one or friend getting arrested and going to jail, Crouch said. “That sticks in their minds so we want to reinforce to them that it’s not all about just arresting people. Sometimes you have to, but we’re here for you if you get lost, you need help or something happens at your house, call us.”

Officers Mike Broussard and Lee Mikeska, both with the department’s bicycle patrol, went to Morgan City Junior High, M.E. Norman Elementary, and planned to go to Holy Cross Elementary later Thursday, Broussard said. Officers visited schools at the end of the 2012-13 school year and now are back visiting school to start off the 2013-14 school year, he said. Mikeska said officers have gotten great feedback from students.

Some students who have seen officers’ school presentations remember exactly what to if, for example, they see a stranger. “It’s actually beneficial. It’s working,” Mikeska said.

Broussard said some students asked officers Thursday where they put people on their bicycles when officers arrest someone.

Crouch said the response from students is “wonderful.” “This is one of the best parts of my job.”

Crouch is getting officers to go to each school in the city. The officers tell students that police are their friends, Crouch said.

“A lot of times they watch a movie that you run from the police, but, no, we want you running to the police if you need something,” Crouch said. Crouch likes to go the schools with his officers and talk to the children, he said. “This is our foundation. These children are our future,” Crouch said.

The “little bit” that officers share with students means “so much to these kids,” Crouch said.

Visiting the city’s schools is going to be “a constant thing,” for officers, Crouch said. If officers on bike patrol have downtime during the day, they go to schools “just to make sure everything’s OK,” Crouch said.

Crouch, Broussard and Mikeska ate lunch with students at M.E. Norman Elementary on Thursday.

“They’re teaching them stuff, not just coming to eat lunch with them. It’s talking to them and explaining to them that if someone approaches you, run away and start screaming. Get someone’s attention,” Crouch said.

Crouch never knows what kids may say. “That’s what I like about them because when you interact with them you get that true response of what they’re thinking and what they think they know,” he said.

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