FOREST PARK — About 25 youngsters and their parents gathered at the Forest Park Library Saturday to munch on cookies, color in activity books and spend some quality time with the city’s finest.
The Forest Park Police Department hosted its first “Cookies with a Cop” event at the library on Saturday in an effort to foster positive relationships with community children. As children scribbled away in their police-themed activity books, two officers with the department made a point to sit and speak with each attendee, remarking on the child’s favorite things and talking over important aspects of safety.
One child was particularly interested in Corporal T. Sterrett’s gadgetry. “He’s like batman!” Myles, age 4, said. Myles wants to be a police officer when he grows up, he said, “because I want to.” He thinks the job, and Officer Sterrett, is pretty cool.
Eight-year-old Stevie said he’s met a police officer only once before, when the officer visited his school. But he said he knew why police officers are so important: “to rescue and save people.” He also said he knew to call 911 if he ever needed help.
Sterrett and Sgt. Kelli Flanigan, who organized the event, see the importance of a positive perception of law enforcement within the community and they aim to start small, among the community’s youngest members.
The officers passed out bookmarks to attendees adorned with police vehicles and a reminder that police are “your friends for life.” While the bookmarks were a big hit, especially among two particular little tykes who wanted nothing more than to “pull a wheelie” on a police motorcycle one day, the officers are hoping the message sticks.
The next “Cookies with a Cop” event is scheduled for March 25 at the Forest Park Library, 4812 West Street in Forest Park, from 11 a.m. to noon.