Most parents tell their kids to seek out a police officer if they are scared, hurt, lost or otherwise in an emergency. For the Johnston Police Department, emergencies come in all forms.
“Where is the best place to get donuts?” asked one child in a recent letter to the officers.
The Johnston Police periodically get batches of letters from the town’s schoolchildren, usually as part of a class project, said Sgt. Zach Grandon, the department’s community affairs officers.
“They thank us for our service,” he said. In one recent letter posted on the JPD’s Facebook page, however, a youngster also said, “Thank you for eating all the donuts at the bakery.”
“I think in this last batch every one had a donut reference,” Grandon told the Johnston Times in a telephone interview.
It’s a joke the officers take in stride, as connecting with the city’s children is a priority for them.
The police do a considerable amount of outreach, he said. There are two school resource officers, one who is always at the high school and the other covering the middle school on down.
In addition, the department runs the 411 program in the fifth and seventh grades. Somewhat similar in nature to but “more expansive than” the old DARE program, 411 covers topics such as drugs and alcohol, but also other things areas such as internet safety, Grandon said.
“We want the kids to feel comfortable around the police,” he added.
Even if that means endless donut comments.
Actually, Grandon says, “I like the donuts.” He said members of the community stop by every now and then with the pastry treat for the officers, and they appreciate it.
“We’re fortunate in Johnston that we have a good community,” he said. “The police can’t do their job without and the community.”
And, if its children are to be believed, the very best donuts.