WOODLAND — Personnel from the Woodland Police Department and Cowlitz County Fire Department recently visited Woodland Primary School to discuss safety, the importance of knowing personal identification, and answer questions from elementary students while also providing tours of police and fire vehicles.
Ingrid Colvard, principal of Woodland Primary School, recognizes the importance for students to see safety officers in different settings.
“Some students may come to school with negative experiences or perceptions of law enforcement and safety officers,” Colvard said. “We want to provide positive experiences for students with first responders so the kids can see these men and women as helpers and positive people in their lives.”
Woodland Police Chief Phil Crochet addressed the assembly of Woodland Primary students to show students the friendly face of their community’s safety officers.
“Police officers want to help people, and we want kids to know that we do a lot more than just arrest suspects,” Crochet said. “My favorite part of the job is reaching out to the community and interacting with kids – I greatly enjoy the community engagement element.”
Crochet discussed the importance of knowing home addresses, phone numbers and if any family members have special medical conditions.
“Mobile phones may prevent the address from showing up on emergency services,” Crochet said. “Parents should ensure their kids know their address, phone number, how to call 911 and how to get out of the house if there’s a fire; parents need to have those conversations with their kids.”
To conclude the presentation, students asked questions about police officers’ jobs and what they do during the average workday.
Crochet got his start in law enforcement working in Texas for more than 25 years before moving to Woodland with his wife two years ago.
“I joined law enforcement because I want to help people and the excitement of the job drew me to it,” he said. “The people of Woodland are wonderful, and building up the relationship between the police and the community is instrumental to the department’s success.”
Following the presentation, students toured Crochet’s police car, and visited with members of the Cowlitz County Fire Department who brought a fire truck for students to check out. Grant Bjur, a lieutenant with the county fire department, echoed Crochet’s perspective of the importance of community engagement.
“Firemen are there to help and it’s incredibly important for kids not to be scared,” Bjur said. “We come out to talk to kids throughout the county a few times a year so they can see that we’re just people, too, and not to be afraid if they ever need our help.”
Milagros Wells, ELL Community Outreach Coordinator for Woodland Public Schools, helped coordinate the event.
“We want to organize events for the entire school that will benefit our students from a variety of communities and cultures,” Well said. “The law enforcement and fire safety professionals who serve our area are always willing to work with us and reach out to our community – they’re amazing.”
This information was provided by the Woodland School District.