Pop With a Cop aims to build relationships with community kids and police
GRAND ISLAND, Neb. —
Kids from the Grand Island community got to bond with the officers over a soda on Wednesday.
The annual event, ‘Pop With a Cop,’ is a simple event to get community members and police officers to sit down, have a conversation, and drink a soda together. The event took place at Lincoln Park in Grand Island.
"A lot of times, unfortunately, kids will see us in a negative manner," said Jeremy Gildersleeve of the Grand Island Police Department.
The Department said events like this allow kids to create positive relationships with law enforcement.
"We're here to help and we want the kids to know that. We don't want the kids to be afraid to call us,” Gildersleeve said.
The kids were able to visit a K-9 dog, have a soda, and most importantly, have one on one time to speak with officers.
"It's a good thing. With everything that's been going on. It helps them make friends with kids,” Lena Walker said. She came for her nephew, Cain Kuil.
Kuil, 4, who wants to be an officer, said once he an becomes one, he’s most excited to to catch bad guys and keep them off the streets.
Gildersleeve said despite the negative stigma that has nationally surrounded officers lately, the Grand Island community has been supportive.
"Sometimes I've had it where somebody that I've dealt with in the past, maybe not in such a positive manner, came up and reintroduced themselves and gave me the story of how they've straightened out their life. So, it's kind of neat to see. To know that you've made an impact on the community that you live in and work in, that's a great thing," Gildersleeve said.
They were even joined by members from the United Way who were there to promote early childhood literacy.
For those that missed 'Pop with a Cop' this Wednesday, they will be holding two more this month.
The next one will be at 6:30 p.m. July 19 at Grace Abbott Park at 601 W. State St. in Grand Island.
The final one will be at 6:30 p.m. July 26 at Pier Park at 500 S. Oak St. in Grand Island.