(WTVM) - Recently, we endorsed the hiring of Muscogee County School District’s new police chief and highlighted his plan to have his officers get to know the students personally and connect with them at a young age.
The same positive approach to teaching kids about law enforcement is happening in Troup County, where Sheriff James Woodruff teaches students in his Junior Deputy Program.
Last week, the department gathered eleven third-grade students chosen by their teachers to be “Deputy Sheriffs for a Day”.
The diverse group of boys and girls got to see close up what a day in the life of a deputy sheriff looks like.
They saw how suspects are booked into the jail. They saw the 911 dispatch center. They got a canine demonstration and even got a close look at the prison stripes inmates have to wear.
But Sheriff Woodruff and his team are doing much more than a jail tour.
They know if they can reach young people and teach them the importance of law enforcement, they can accomplish two important goals.
First, students see close-up the realities of jail, and the hope is they’d be less likely to do anything that might put them in a cell in the future.
Second, when students see the responsibilities of a sheriff’s deputy to enforce the law, students can develop respect for police officers.
The most important thing is that officers and students learn about each other and learn to trust each other. Too often, police officers get stereotyped and negative incidents tend to get the most publicity.
But most law enforcement professionals are highly trained and dedicated individuals, who work under extremely difficult, dangerous circumstances which most of us can never fully comprehend.
The more students understand the role of law enforcement, the better the chances are that those students will grow up to be law-abiding, responsible citizens.
And probably more than a few of them will even want to be deputy sheriffs when they grow up!
General Manager Holly Steuart brings two editorials a week to WTVM. If you would like to respond to an editorial, e-mail your response to email@example.com or write to:
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