Young school children across Chicago will get to meet a police officer as the city’s police department revives the nation’s oldest “Officer Friendly” program.
The plan is to send uniformed CPD members to every K-3 classroom in the city this year as part of Supt. Eddie Johnson’s efforts to revamp the department’s community policing.
On the West Side, officer Jamil Brown is getting trained to run Officer Friendly visits by cops out of the Ogden police station. Brown said the officers will talk with the children about topics ranging from poisonous liquids to traffic signals and dangerous strangers.
Brown said the program’s more fundamental purpose is to help “heal the wounds of deceit between the public and police department.”
The idea, Brown said, is to rebuild trust that has broken down as a result of videotaped police shootings and, over the last year, a surge in gun violence.
Chip Mitchell reports out of WBEZ’s West Side studio. Follow him at @ChipMitchell1.