By KATHY CHANG
EDISON — First graders at James Madison Primary School learned that police officers are their friends.
Police Officers Jason Chang and Keith Jackson of the Edison Police Department spent a few hours earlier this month with about 40 students talking about safety, what they do in the community and answered questions from the students.
Lindsay James, a first grade special education teacher, said she reached out to Edison police.
“My goal was opening the door to our classrooms to bridge the gap for our young students (ages 5 and 6) and police officers,” she said. “To show that police officers are our friends and they are always here for us to protect and care for us and look after everyone in our community, they should not be feared … they are people too.”
James said it was nice for the officers to give a bit of their valuable time and share it with the students.
The students asked the officers about how life as a police officer was fighting bad guys to what the officers ate for lunch each day.
After the presentation, the officers joined the youngsters for relay races and enjoyed pizza together.
“My personal favorite part was watching the officers running around with the kids, cheering them on and helping them through the obstacles,” said James.
She said by the end of their time together, many students decided that they wanted to be police officers when they grow up.
Edison Police Chief Thomas Bryan said the Edison Police Department puts forth a great community policing effort.
“Our officers are very eager to interact with the public on all levels,” he said. “Visiting the schools provides security, and our youth and faculty enjoy connecting with our officers.”
Bryan said the department’s community policing philosophy extends through each and every officer in their department.
“One example is officers alighting from their vehicles and interacting with individuals playing basketball at the park,” he said. “There is also a huge sense of volunteerism amongst the officers who use their own time off duty to hand out turkeys to underprivileged families or buying children clothes or toys that they lost in a house fire. I am very proud of the dedicated men and women who truly enjoy providing random acts of kindness to the citizens of Edison Township.”