Officer Greg VanBrunt is cultivating relationships with the middle school students of Pleasant Grove Schools (PGS). Students have the opportunity to ask questions and discuss topics that are of interest.
“It is important to build trust and a working relationship between the law enforcement and students at Pleasant Grove. The goal is to use this time as an instrument in building that trust. Additionally, we are using these opportunities to create writing projects in class,” said Pleasant Grove Teacher Tara Barlean.
Officer VanBrunt is stopping by once a month to visit with grades sixth through eighth grade.
“This is a grassroots effort to model what we would like to see the ongoing relationship between students and officers. Just starting a conversation in a non-threatening environment makes a profound difference in the lives of young people, the community and police officers,” said Scott Roper, Superintendent of Pleasant Grove Schools.
“Officer VanBrunt easily relates to the students and they enjoy being able to have the one-on-one conversations with him,” said Mrs. Barlean.
Middle School are one of the most at-risk groups there is when it comes to crimes committed against people. Whether they witness or experience violence, it has a lasting effect on them.
If their interaction with the police under these traumatic circumstances is not positive, they run the risk of developing a lifelong distrust of the police.
Interaction with law enforcement in these safe environments often serves as a beginning to developing this lasting trust.
“We want to be the conduit for these students to foster positive relationships between law enforcement, and grow up to be productive individuals in their communities,” said Roper.