(STL.News) – United States Attorney Christina E. Nolan announced today the rollout of a Law Enforcement Reading Program. The U.S. Attorney’s Office created this program for purposes of outreach to children in rural communities. Under the program, local police officers will read a book to students in grades 1 through 3 in the classroom, then engage in open-ended discussion of the content, themes, and lessons. Book topics and themes will range from personal safety and character building to good citizenship and family life. Students will receive copies of the book to begin their own personal library.
The goal of this program is to build trust, and foster positive relationships and interactions between law enforcement and young children. Sadly, too often little children have formative experiences with police officers only in times of crisis and during responses to emergency calls; these difficult memories understandably color their view of law enforcement as they grow older. The reading program represents an attempt to shift this dynamic, by introducing children to their police officer protectors in the positive, peaceful, and safe setting of the schoolhouse.
The first reading will occur in Dover, Vermont on November 12, with Dover police officers conducting the reading. Other readings are scheduled to occur in Thetford and Royalton this month. The U.S. Attorney’s Office thanks the local participating police departments for their support and contribution.
U.S. Attorney Nolan praised her office’s Law Enforcement Coordinator, Kraig LaPorte, for designing and implementing this creative youth outreach program, tailored to the needs of Vermont: “With this program, we promote children’s trust and confidence in our brave men and women in uniform, while also helping to nurture and educate them and jump-start their home libraries. We intend to share the concept, which advances several important goals, with our counterparts across the country. Through our charging decisions and our outreach, the U.S. Attorney’s Office will continue to make the well-being of children – the future of Vermont – our highest priority. I thank local law enforcement in Vermont for supporting this program and recognizing its importance.”