“…I utilize the program in a different way…I use it to break barriers down with kids in the community.”

I’ve been using the REACH BAG program for approximately two years now. I utilize the program in a different way than the traditional use for the program. It’s usually used for kids in crisis; however, I use it in this day and age for breaking barriers down with the kids in the community.  For example, one day I was out patrolling and saw a group of kids. This group usually shies away from Police Officers initially. But I got out of the car and asked, “Do you read books?” I went to my trunk, grabbed my REACH BAG out and called them all over, asking again, “Do you read books?” All the kids were excited about getting a new book! I also told them the next time they see me, stop me and tell me about what their book was about. I think the reason this program is very important to me and the reason I like it so much, is because it gives me an opportunity to get out of the car and not only be there as the Police Officer, but I can be there as a friend for kids. They can come up to me and approach me about anything. They can talk to me about their books, sports, just anything. I think it breaks down those barriers for future contacts when things are going wrong in their community.  The result is kids are more friendly talking with you, want to talk with you and they know that you are a friend. That’s why I think this program is huge- it’s a great tool for Law Enforcement.

Officer Tommy Foy
Sun Prairie Police Department

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