Children learn what it takes to be a Bloomfield police officer
Children ages three through eight-years-old attended the event
BLOOMFIELD — A group of children were a conference room on the second floor of the Bloomfield Police Department today learning how to take DNA swabs from their parents and relatives. Their goal was to determine if their test subjects were involved in a possible crime.
The lesson in evidence collection was part of the department's inaugural Day in the Life of a Police Officer event to teach children ages three- through eight-years-old what it is like to be a police officer.
The event was born after Lt. Randon Matthews noticed a five-year-old girl started to get bored during a Coffee with the Chief meeting and realized the department didn't have any activities for children under the age of 10.
The department hosts a Police Academy for children between the ages of 10 and 16-years-old.
Matthews hoped the children will gain an understanding of the kinds of work officers are involved in on a daily basis. He hopes that will help them become comfortable asking an officer for help when they need to.
"That's important because sometimes kids are intimidated by the badge and the uniform," Matthews said.
Members of the Bloomfield Police Department introduced themselves, including new Police Chief David Karst, who has been on the job just over a month.
Matthews led the children through a shift briefing, updating them on mock cases they would help investigate later on.
They were briefed on a mock bank robbery, a shoplifting incident and a graffiti case.
The children were asked to examine the images shared on a television and later identify or circle the suspects from a "lineup" on paper handouts distributed after the briefing.
Officers demonstrated how they handcuff suspects. After showing two of the kids how handcuffs work they also let some of them try on their gear, including helmets and bullet-proof vests.
A tour of the police department was given before the children were allowed to examine the police vehicles up-close.
They also learned how traffic stops and crash investigations were conducted.
Ashley Price attended the event with her son, Seth Price. He thought police officers were cool because they ride around in cop cars.
Ashley said Seth wanted to become a police officer when he grew up as his uncle and cousin were both officers.
"I just think the awareness of what they are doing is great," Ashley Price said.
The event ended with the police department providing lunch for the children at the police station.
Joshua Kellogg covers crime, courts and social issues for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.