Page 43 - March 2021
P. 43

 5th District Officer Carroll knows how to teach kids
Serving children has always been part of Rebecca Carroll’s life mis- sion.
She started working at a daycare when she was 16 years old. Car- roll then followed her passion and became a pre-K teacher in the Po- sen-Robbins District in 2012 before doing the same job with Chicago Public Schools from 2015 to 2017.
When she became a Chicago Po- lice Officer in 2017, she knew that she had to find a way to continue to serve the youth of the city.
“I think I always wanted to be not only a teacher, but a police officer,” affirmed the 5th District officer. “I knew that being a police officer would give me tons of influence with the little kids.”
Now, Carroll has made it a point
on her beat to stop when she sees
children and give them drawstring bags — decorated with smiley-face emojis, of course — filled with coloring books, crayons, stuffed animals and other small toys she finds at local dollar stores.
“I always stop and say hello and say, ‘Oh, I’ve got a prize for you,’” she explained. “And even often when I go to do- mestic incidents, depending on the situation, I do offer a coloring book or something to the child after.”
Carroll’s initial plan to give out the bags four years ago grew out of the desire to show children a friendly face in uniform. That, coupled with the fact that she had a treasure trove of small prizes from her teaching days, provided an easy way to humanize the badge in Calumet.
And the officer comes from a public service family. Her fa- ther retired from the fire department, her mother worked at the Daley Center with the Cook County Sheriff’s Office, her older brother is on with the Department and her two other triplets — a brother and sister — work at a suburban police department and as a nurse, respectively.
Giving back to the community has been ingrained in Car- roll, so starting an initiative to give gifts to youth seemed like a no-brainer.
“Public service pretty much runs in my blood,” she said. “Sometimes I ask the parents like, ‘Do you want to take a picture?’ So [the kids] remember it, too. The little kids are always so excited, and I don’t want them to forget it.”
Carroll plans to continue giving goodie bags to youth as
long as she’s on the job. She knows that in her position as a Chicago Po- lice Officer, it’s crucial to be a trust- ed face in the community — and she likes to begin that relationship in childhood.
“Some of the areas that I work, the first interaction [children] have with police may not be positive, so it’s important to make a positive in- fluence so that’s not the only image they have,” Carroll said. “There are so many different things within the Department you could do. I’m still dealing with little kids, like a por- tion of what I used to, and I get to continue to show a positive image and be an influence in the commu- nity.”
  Rebecca Carroll, an officer in the 5th District, gifts bags of coloring books and small toys to local youth while on patrol on Jan. 21.

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