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Greenwich Students Shadow Police

In an effort to improve relations with the town’s teens, the police department hosted a seminar to teach a group of Greenwich High School students about law enforcement and the roles of town officers.

Eleven juniors and seniors met with police commanders and toured the building Thursday as part of a student leadership class. Chief David Ridberg stressed the importance of police officers meeting with teens.

“We’re hoping to break down that barrier of mistrust that exists,” said Chief David Ridberg. “We know we won’t be able to entirely eradicate it, but [it helps] anytime they can meet police officers and see we’re human beings like anyone else.”

Throughout the semester, Diane Fox, director of student activities at the high school, has arranged for the class to tour town facilities and meet with community leaders. “The students are observing leaders and interviewing leaders to learn how to improve on their own leadership skills,” said Fox.

In addition to a tour of the public safety complex, officers gave students a crash course on the day-to-day functions of the department and discussed the need for more female patrol officers and the importance of diversity in the department.

“[Diversity] makes us better able to serve the community, with female officers, officers who are bi-lingual … or people with backgrounds in different trades,” said Capt. James Heavey. “They’re all aspects that are brought to the police department that we can use.”

Officers gave the students advice on how to pursue a law enforcement career, including what to major in at college, community service, and the importance of maintaining a clean record.

“Just as important as maintaining your image and integrity, is the ability to have compassion on the job,” said Heavey. “Whenever someone needs help, we go, and we’re not entitled to have bad days.”

Be part of the conversation: Do you think visits and seminars like the one Greenwich High students took part in will help improve relations between teens and police?

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