New Carbondale police program raises some questions from the com - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

New Carbondale police program raises some questions from the community

A new police outreach program is raising some questions in the communtiy. A new police outreach program is raising some questions in the communtiy.
CARBONDALE, IL (KFVS) - For nearly three months, Carbondale, Illinois police officers have been taking part in a new School Outreach Program, hoping to improve relationships with the people and children of the community.

Each week, every officer goes to an elementary school during one of their shifts. These schools include Carbondale Middle School, Thomas School, Parrish Elementary School and Lewis School.

Officers read, interact, and sometimes eat lunch with the kids.

"A lot of times they just see us as the authority figure," Sgt. Corey Kemp said. "Going into the schools and talking with them, it shows them that we're also human beings, not just that authoritative figure."

Principal Alicia Miller, Thomas School, says this not only benefits children but the school as well.

"Not only are they coming in to establish relationships, but they're also familiarizing themselves with the like with the building," Miller said. "So, if there's ever an incident that comes up in the future, they'll have first hand knowledge or experience."

Members of the Carbondale Racial Justice Coalition did raise questions about the new outreach program. 

"We know they are hanging out with the children, but what are they teaching the kids," member Cathy Field asked. 

"What are they actually learning from these officers?" Margaret Nesbitt, also a member of the Carbondale Racial Justice Coalition, questioned how more parents could get involved with the officers.

"That's my main question," Nesbitt said. "I want to know how more parents can interact with the officers as well."

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