Long arm of the law reaches out to children

Posted: July 6, 2013

The Winchester Star

Winchester Master Patrol Officer A.M. Polk (left) and Cpl. R.A. Perlick talk to the local Boys and Girls Club about their jobs. (Photo by Jeff Taylor/The Winchester Star)

WINCHESTER — Three city police officers spoke to area youths on Friday about what they’re doing to protect them.

Master Patrol Officer R.A. Shillingburg, Cpl. A.C. Perlick and Master Patrol Officer A.M. Polk talked to about 60 children aged 6 to 13 from the Boys and Girls Club.

The presentation was held in Douglas Community Learning Center on Kent Street.

“We’re reaching out to the Boys and Girls Club to give students an idea of what officers do in the community and the positive impact of these officers on the community,” said police spokeswoman Lauren Cummings.

The officers fielded inquiries about pepper spray, police batons, tasers and guns and answered questions about why their uniforms were so tight, what it’s like to be a female officer, what happens if two people kill each other at the same time, and what occurs if a car accident takes place and no one is there to see it?

One of the main points of the presentation was telling the children that police are there to help them.

“We’re not here just to pick up bad guys,” Shillingburg said. “We’re here to help you guys, too.”

Officers also help with neighborhood cleanups and children’s camps. “We’re not just all about putting handcuffs on people,” Perlick said.

Shillingburg advised the youngsters to be alert for trouble and to learn their address so they can tell a 911 dispatcher in case of an emergency. He also told them never to touch any kind of weapon and to tell an adult immediately if they find one.

The officers also spoke about using their guns as one of the last lines of defense.

“We don’t want to shoot anybody,” Shillingburg said. “That’s our main goal — to not hurt anyone.”

William Crowder, 12, felt more comfortable about police officers after the presentation. “They’re here to protect us, not kill us,” he said.

Jacquelyn Whitt, 10, thought the officers were fun. “It was really good. They answered all the questions, and the answers were all really good.”

Monica Thompson, 9, had more tips for youths her age.

“They didn’t say this, but you don’t want to call the cops for just play,” she said. “You want to call them for an emergency.”

— Contact Rebecca Layne at rlayne@winchesterstar.com