School is back in session for many area students, and for the latest “What's Working” segment, we wanted to highlight what Sacramento Police are doing to make sure kids have a safe and enjoyable school year.
"This is so cool. First day back to school. First day yes," said Sac PD Officer Grove.
Let’s be honest, we form so many lasting memories right here on the schoolyard, that's why Sacramento School Resource Officers have been going above and beyond. Grove even shopped with students to get them ready for the new school year.
"It's about making connections. I tell them all the time, ‘Don't look at me as a law enforcement officer right now. Look at me as a big sister.’ I saw your pictures, where you had your favorite color. Just trying to make that connection. Yes. Trying to let them know that it's not all about a badge. Sometimes it's just about being a person," said Grove.
The focus on forming lasting relationships with the students appears to be working.
"I remember going down the hall and getting a fist bump from one of our officers, and also the Dean of the school. It's always the little things that can change someone's day," said Isaiah Gage.
Gage, 17, is going into his senior year at Hiram Johnson High School. He says these simple day-to-day interactions with Sacramento Police changed his life.
"It can be actually a big deal, because a lot of the interactions that we have with police on the street can be poor. I remember being homeschooled, and I was walking home, and I got stopped by some officers. They thought I was skipping school, but I wasn't. I didn't have my identification on me. That was my fault. It was a scary experience and being able to converse with officers on a regular basis kind of made that fear go away," Gage said.
"There's a lot of kid who look like me that don't have a lot of trust in law enforcement, and I have the ability to talk to these kids and relate to them," said Officer Browder.
Browder tells ABC10 she cherishes the time she spends with all her students.
"I'm not from Sacramento. I grew up in Compton, California, but the neighborhood that I grew up in wasn't very police friendly and it wasn't until I met some friendly police, in the town that I went to college in, that I realized that there is a sense of appreciation that you have to give law enforcement. So, now I feel like I have the opportunity to kind of give back and give kids the opportunity that I wish someone would have given me when I was younger,” Browder said.
The kids know they are always in for a fun time with Officer Hernandez.
"Whenever I have the chance to pay it forward, it means the world to me. I remember not that long ago I was in your shoes at a local high school, and then after high school I got involved in the explorer program. And those that took the time to invest in me and saw that interest that I had in law enforcement, to be able to pay that forward to a young man like Isaiah, it's amazing."
“We have team of eight and the sergeant and myself to cover a small city. And you could never imagine doing that, but that's what we do every day. I work side-by-side with the sergeant to ensure that we have a safe school," said Director of the Office of Safe Schools, Nina Delgadillo.
"It's more than that. It's more than enforcing laws at schools. It's more than making sure that campuses and students and faculty are safe. It also has a lot to do with bettering the relationships that we have in the community. It has a lot to do with fostering new relationships in the community," said Browder.