St. Paul police on playground duty

St. Paul Police connecting with kids and the community through the game of Four Square.

ST. PAUL, Minn. - The friendship began one day during the lunch hour at Farnsworth Aerospace 5-8 Campus in St. Paul.

“They were playing four square and we thought it was a good idea to get out of our car and join in," said Officer Jeff Cragg.

Cragg and his partner saw an opportunity to build a relationship.

“Some kids were like, "Whoa, what happened? What’s going on around here?”

Saint Paul police officers like Cragg are reaching out to business owners and community members, including young kids, so that people know who they are and understand that they are here to help.

“The first time we met them it was fun,” said Ella Chang, a fifth-grader.

In fact, the kids thought Officer Cragg and his colleagues were so fun that they had to invite them to lunch and another round of four square.

“The age group we’re dealing with are fifth-graders," Cragg said. "They don’t know anything yet about police and what we stand for. That’s why we want to get those impressions out about what we’re trying to do."

It’s a simple game, four square – but the hope is for a bigger impact.

“If we build those relationships with kids for the future, we’ll have those relationships to depend on when crime does happen," Cragg said. "Then we can reach out to them and they can trust us with information and what they want to talk about."

And this is just one way St. Paul police connect with kids.

They also have community outreach initiatives like the Pal Program and Explorer Program.

© 2017 KARE-TV


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