Page 63 - FOP May 2019 Magazine
P. 63

 Week of the Young Child brings police, kids together in 025
It’s not often you see a bunch of police officers escorting a parade of preschool- ers down the streets of Chicago, but that’s exactly what happened in March, as Chi- cago kicked off its annual Week of the Young Child. With smiles on their faces, the children banged pots and pans. They laughed and shouted as they enjoyed the spotlight of the community.
The celebration, which was estab- lished in 1971 by the National Associa- tion for the Education of Young Children, began as a way to focus public attention on the needs of children and their fam- ilies. During the week, communities come together to address the best ways to help their littlest members.
In the 25th District, officers played their part, serving as parade leaders, ed- ucators and hosts of a child abuse pre- vention seminar at a local church. At the event, the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), various support systems, guest speakers and educators
were on hand to answer questions, pro- vide information and help make the lives of young children better in their commu- nity.
It’s a time of year that brings to the forefront the importance of officer-child relationships throughout the city. As a re- sult, 25th District Sergeant Thomas Cot- ter goes into the celebratory week with one thing in mind. He wants children to see the police, like the police and respect the police — and most importantly, not to fear the police.
“There are all these preconceived no- tions [about police officers], and they are all false,” Cotter said. “We are human like everyone else. We take care of our own. We are not the enemy. We never were. We are the good guys.”
Not every child, tween or teen will agree, however. There is a fear, even among the youngest of kids. Cotter re- called a day last summer when he no- ticed a small boy who appeared lost at the park. He was looking in bushes and garbage cans, trying to find his parents.
When Cotter went to help the boy, the child screamed and ran away at the sight of an officer.
“We want to try to address those types of behaviors,” Cotter said.
And, his district is doing just that. While visiting students, officers talk about simple things, like looking both ways before crossing the street and hy- giene. But they also discuss safe places to play and what to do if they find a gun on the playground. The service is offered to schools throughout the district, and the program is spreading across the city.
“We want kids to grow up not fearing us,” Cotter said.
   Trial attorneys Andy Hale and Brian Monico have teamed up to form the new law firm
The firm has now added these new practice areas: Injury Claims, Medical Malpractice, and Wrongful Death
Monadnock Building 53 W. Jackson, Suite 330 Chicago, IL 60604
Andy Hale
(312) 870-6926
Brian Monico
(312) 320-6085

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