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Police department teaches students safety and exemplary conduct

by Daniel Bereznicki | September 14, 2023 at 8:08 a.m.
Submitted by Samuel Townsend These Goodman Elementary students were happy to receive their junior officers' oath and junior deputy badge stickers. Townsend believes the department should have a more active role in developing a good rapport with students and youths in the community. He asserts that its positive effect will influence their view of law enforcement as they become adults.

GOODMAN -- The Goodman Police Department visited the classrooms of teachers Erica Muncy and Samantha Brines' at Goodman Elementary School on Tuesday, Aug. 29, to teach students the importance of staying safe and becoming exemplary students.

After his presentation, police chief Samuel Townsend handed specialty "junior officer" badge stickers to students present during the safety demonstration.

"Goodman Police was a little 'short' on employees and help," said Townsend jokingly. "So I deputized 32 new officers."

According to Townsend, it's customary for the department to be present as students arrive and depart from the school. This gives the department opportunities to interact with students and build a positive rapport.

"I give them high fives when they come into school," said Townsend. "And I'm always there in the evenings whenever they walk to the parents."

This caught the attention of the faculty, who thought the department could take it a step further.

"School teachers Samantha Brines and Erica Munch reached out to me to teach (students) about safety and how to follow the school's rules.

During his presentation, Townsend discussed the roles of police officers, firefighters, and teachers. He encouraged students to reach out to these figures if they needed any support.

He added, "They're there to help you, and they care about you."

Townsend talked to students about school safety and class morals, even though "a lot of the kindergarteners couldn't read yet."

These demonstrations gave students examples of how exemplary students would conduct themselves in a classroom setting and stay safe.

At the end of the presentation, Townsend handed each student the "Junior Officer Oath" with the words: "I do solemnly promise to obey my parents and teachers and stand up for what is right, even at times when it is hard. I promise to follow directions quickly, raise my hand for permission to speak, raise my hand for permission to leave my seat, make smart choices, make our dear team stronger, and keep my eyes on the target."

After taking the oath, the department presented students with junior officer badge stickers to inaugurate its new "junior deputies."

Townsend said this presentation aims to develop a positive rapport between the youth and the department in the community.

Did these efforts have a positive effect on the city's junior residents?

During one experience, Townsend was arresting a resident for assaulting his wife. The man's child recognized Townsend from school and ran outside to give him a "high five and hug."

Despite an intense situation, the child viewed Townsend as an officer he could trust and feel safe with. He said sometimes, when arresting parents, children become confused and try to attack officers.

Taking the time to develop a relationship with the community's youth, whether "playing basketball or (games) like red light, green light," can have a lasting effect for now and into the future.

"It's very different the way we impact these kids. They know we care about them and can make a difference in their lives."

Referring to the 32 new junior deputies, Townsend said, "Goodman is now in good hands and already a better place. Thanks to these Goodman Elementary School students."

  photo  Photo by Samuel Townsend Townsend hands out junior deputy badge stickers to students after the safety and exemplary presentation.
  photo  Photo by Samuel Townsend Thirty-two students took the Junior Officer Oath, which promotes actions that make a student exemplary.

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