Sometimes it’s the small gestures that make all the difference in the world. On Dec. 14, a group of Santa Clara Police officers gathered at Scott Lane Elementary School in Santa Clara to spend a few hours with the students.
“It started last year. There’s an area near here that kind of experiences some difficulties in the neighborhood, crime and things like that,” said Santa Clara Police Department (SCPD) Sgt. Greg Deger. “So obviously, as law enforcement, we wanted to go address that. But we also want to show the other side of things…We did a beautification project in the area and capped the day off by coming here to the school.”
The tradition continued this year. Helmed by recently appointed Community Service Officer Alexis Morales, officers visited the school’s kindergarten through third grade classes to read and distribute books.
“We’re excited to have Santa Clara Police Department,” said Scott Lane Principal Claudia Corpus. “For our students to see them on campus and to have that positive connection, having them read to them and being excited about the questions they’re asking and building those relationships is very important for us.”
It was Detective Ryan Seto’s first time participating and he shared a similar sentiment to Principal Corpus.
“The reason that I wanted to get involved is I think it’s really important for officers to have good relationships with their community,” said Seto. “It starts when the kids are young. I’m a big believer in community policing and to take an hour out of my day…I think is going to make a big difference in these kids’ lives as they get older.”
Students appreciated the visit.
“This is the best day!” exclaimed one kindergartner after receiving a new book from Seto and Morales.
Meanwhile, Captain Richard Fitting and Officer Carlo Calupad tried their hand at reading a Spanish book to the second grade dual language immersion class.
“You read it really good,” praised one second grader.
The officers also answered questions about their jobs, explaining that of all the tools and equipment they carry, the pen is the most important thing they have on them and the walkie talkie is second.
“[I feel] good. Proud to be able to help people that maybe can’t help themselves,” said Fitting when one of the students asked how it feels to be a police officer.
Calupad talked to students about different ways to deal with being anxious, including exercise, perspective and talking to people you trust.
“Not keeping it all bottled up inside,” said Calupad. “Talk to someone who cares.”
For Community Service Officer Morales, she’s hopeful this is the start of something bigger.
“This is the first time Santa Clara has been doing it [reading to students]. So, we’re looking forward to expanding to other schools as well,” said Morales.
Such a thoughtful project. Yes the community especially kids need such support.
Thanks for all the good work you all do for the community