GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) – A new Green Bay Police Department initiative called “Books and Badges” aims to promote positive interactions between young children and local police.
It’s why officer Tracy Liska is walking the halls of Nicolet Elementary school, headed for a kindergarten class.
Liska and two officers are here today with a simple mission, to read books and lay the foundation for a positive relationship between the community’s youth and police.
“We really want to make sure that these kids aren’t afraid of us and that they know our job is not to just bring people to jail or arrest people, they know that the police are here for them,” says Liska.
Nicolet teachers welcome the police presence.
“I think this is a wonderful opportunity for students to have the officers come in and read to them and become more familiar with the officers in a different setting than they might have seen them previously,” says teacher Barb Bubnes.
During the first year of the Books and Badges program, officers will read to every kindergarten class in Green Bay— reaching more than 3,000 students.
Officers hope this is just the beginning of breaking down barriers.
“The Green Bay Police Foundation is a huge outlet for donating to the Books and Badges program, hopefully we can receive some donations and expand this program, do more readings, it would be great,” says officer Elizabeth Rocque.
Before they leave, officers give each child a book, and a police department junior badge.
Saying goodbye isn’t easy.
“We didn’t know how this was going to go, but from the first couple times now we’ve done this the kids are very receptive, and yeah, we walk in, we’re not used to having people come up and loves us and hug us and that’s just such a good feeling,” says Liska.