Whitney Young students eat lunch with Cleveland police officers (Video, photo gallery)
CMSD NEWS BUREAU
Officers from Cleveland’s 4th Police District stopped by Whitney M. Young PreK-8 School to have lunch, conversation and some laughs.
Officers Crystal Lewis and Antonio Andino started going around to all the schools in the 4th District in the fall of 2018.
“We wanted to engage with the kids,” Andino said. “We have over 35 schools in the 4th District, and we just want to have lunch with the kids.”
During their informal visits, the officers hand out stickers pencils and show the students their equipment.
“We want to show them that we care. So, we go to the school several times to build a relationship,” said Andino.
Lewis says it is paying off.
“One time, a child from one of the schools we visited recognized Officer Andino and said, ‘Hey, you had lunch at my school.' ”
The officers talk one on one with the older students. They want what might be their first encounter with an officer to be a positive one.
“We want to let them know that we are normal people outside this uniform and to show them we are here to help.” Andino said. “We want them to see us in a non-crisis situation, so they know we are here to help
So far this year, the officers have visited more than 20 schools.