Officer Visit in the Books at Woodmen Hills Elementary School
Students at WHES hosted special visitors from the community at the school Jan. 11. Sergeant William Webster and Deputy Courtney Norman from the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office were onsite to read to young learners as part of the Badges and Books program.
Badges and Books began in collaboration with local schools as a reading education and community interaction program. It brings uniformed law enforcement officers into classrooms to build trusting relationships with youth. It is the only program of its kind in Southern Colorado, and last year El Paso County officers read to 7,000 students in the area.
“The goal is for children to get used to seeing police officers in uniform and know that they are the good guys,” commented Deputy Courtney Norman.
Many books were shared throughout the day, and along with storytime, students were invited to ask Deputy Norman and Sergeant Webster questions about their job in law enforcement. The officers also demonstrated their gear and talked about safety tips.
“My real job is to help people,” shared Norman. “The tool I use most when dealing with people is my words,” she added. Norman reminded students that when dealing with situations that are frustrating or difficult, it is important to talk things out.
Sergeant Webster talked to students about safety and asked them to share important rules to follow.
“Wear your seat belt,” “Watch for cars,” and “Don’t talk to strangers,” were among the student responses.
In the end, learners enjoyed more than just a good book. The deputies presented each kindergartner with a stuffed animal as a gift. Older students received badge stickers and brightly colored pencils as reminders of the special event.