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Gardena elementary students participate in LAPD 'Kid Cop' Program

May 29, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Nearly 1,000 new LAPD officers were sworn in Wednesday, but these little officers are younger than the typical street cop.

"I'm going to learn how to be a good kid in every single way as I can, like at home, school, just everywhere," said "kid cop" Kalise Barrow.

The goal of the Los Angeles Police Department's Kid Cop Program is to reach the youth of 186th Street Elementary School in Gardena early on in order to build a relationship of trust and respect with Harbor Division police officers.

"If they interact with them as youngsters, when they become older, they'll be able to interact with them in a positive way and not in a negative way," said 186th Street Elementary School Principal Marcia Reed. "Then they learn that police officers are their friends."

"They see drugs, they see gang-related crimes, they see murder and everything that you wouldn't want your children to see," said LAPD Senior Lead Officer Brian Cook.

But despite the hurdles life presents, the kindergarten through fifth-graders took an oath to be law-abiding citizens, to stay away from drugs and alcohol, and to be good neighbors in their community.

"This is a great learning experience for everyone because it's just so lucky for everyone to meet real police officers," said "kid cop" Dana Do.

Officers showed off bomb squad and dive team equipment, police cars, motorcycles, horses, a dog and an obstacle course.

"They get to train dogs, they get nice cars, motorcycles, they use high-tech gears, they get to ride horses sometimes, and I just like them," said "kid cop" Robert Micklo.

"They have a choice. They can be good citizens or they can make poor decisions," said Reed. "We always encourage our children to make wise decisions, so we're starting at an early age so that it becomes a part of their hearts and they will learn to live peacefully with all people."

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