Selena Bak and her older sister Esther were a little nervous about eating lunch with police officers who visited Trinity High School, but they relaxed when asked about how they were doing in school.
“It was my first time to eat lunch with an officer. It wasn’t as scary as I thought,” Selena Bak said.
Said Esther: “They asked about my grades and how well I am doing in school.”
Several officers from the Euless Police Department along with three classes of sophomores and juniors shared pizza and soft drinks last week.
The Euless Small Business Association sponsored the “Back the Blue” event to give police and students a chance to interact.
It was my first time to eat lunch with an officer. It wasn’t as scary as I thought.
Student Selena Bak
Joe Mapes, who owns several Joan’s Car Wash locations throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth area, said he and other members saw a need for more public support of the police.
“There is a lot of negativism coming out of Washington relating to local police forces,” Mapes said. “Police have taken an undue rap, and we are supporting the police.”
Ron Tipton, association president, said he was pleased to see the interaction between students and police.
“We believe it was a big success for all involved. We will probably continue to do this,” Tipton said.
Three classes of sophomores and juniors ate lunch with officers.
Peggy McIntyre, a support specialist and crisis intervention counselor at Trinity, said the association contacted her about organizing the event. The goal, she said, was for students and police to learn from one another.
“Many kids in our student population come from single-parent families. I think any positive reinforcement we can show them from the Police Department will help them become better citizens,” McIntyre said.
Before the students ate lunch, officer James Gordon told them that police cared about them and the choices they make.
“If you need help and can’t get ahold of your parents, don’t be afraid to call us,” Gordon said. “We do want you to succeed.”
Gordon also told the students to talk to their counselors about their plans for college and their careers.
“Most of my friends never met with their counselors, and they didn’t have the letters of recommendation they needed for college,” he said.
“If you are settling on C’s and B’s, why not make A’s? You can act now. Why not push yourselves to do that?” Gordon said.
Gordon, who works in the community services division, said it is important for police officers to spend time with different groups of people.
“We want to tell the students, ‘Yes, I believe in you,’ ” Gordon said.
As Prashiddha Sharma finished his pizza, he asked officer Chris White about K-9 units and their usefulness in fighting crime.
White told Sharma that Euless does not have a K-9 unit but that dogs can be brought in if necessary to sniff for drugs or perform other tasks.
Although Sharma wants to become a mechanical engineer, he said police work always interested him.
“I just had a lot of questions. I watch a lot of police shows. I thought I got a good explanation,” he said.