IL policing outreach program put on hold - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

IL policing outreach program put on hold

CARBONDALE, IL (KFVS) -

A Carbondale, Illinois policing program that was hoping to build relations among local officers and the community, has been put on hold.

The Carbondale Police Department collaborated with School District 95 where officers would come into the schools each week, and read or have lunch with the students.

As of Wednesday, the city manager, Kevin Baity, said the outreach program has been suspended by the superintendent, Mike Shimshak.

Since the initial planning of this idea, which interim police chief Jeff Grubbs said started back in September of 2014, there were questions raised on whether or not police in the schools was the best way to start improving community relations in Carbondale.

Some people were on both sides of the fence, saying that building better relationships with the community needs to start with just that, the community, not children. Or to have the program, but without the guns.

Other people said they believe officers in schools is a great way for children to be more comfortable around the men and women behind the badge.

“If they were ever approached by one or if they were ever in a situation where they needed help, they wouldn’t feel so scared to walk up to a police officer and ask for help because they’ve been around them in a school setting,” parent, Kerri Parker said.

Interim police Chief Jeff Grubbs said that the news is disappointing and that it’s like take step backwards rather than forward and says the biggest loss in the situation is the children and school safety.

It’s uncertain how long this temporary suspension will last.

Chief Grubbs did say that this only one of many community outreach programs, and that they will have further discussion on moving forward.

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