Police aim to build strong relationships with students through ‘You Can, Too’ program

Local News

YANKTON, S.D. (KELO) – A positive relationship between police and the community is important. Officers in one city are taking action to make sure that relationship is strong starting at the school level.

4th graders at Stewart Elementary are learning firsthand what the Yankton Police Department does on a daily basis — as well as how they can help first responders.

“We got to learn about what reasons to call 911 and what reasons not to call 911, like if there’s a fire or an accident,” 4th grader Sawyer Maibaum said.

It’s all part of a 14 week pilot program called ‘You Can, Too.’

“We are in the early stages of trying this program out, but the program is designed to help officers be seen more, have more interaction with the kids,” school resource officer, Preston Crissey said. “When an officer comes off the street, the kids will have a comfort level with the officer, doesn’t matter who it’s going to be, it can be any officer here in Yankton.”

For now, three officers will be in three different elementary schools talking to 2nd and 4th graders.

“We’re going to talk about our jobs and our duties so that way when we do traffic stops, we want the public and the kids to understand why we ask people to do what we do, we will also have K9 demos and have other parts of our agency come in,” Crissey said.

Which is why students are looking forward to more classes.

“I like to learn a lot about people, so it was really fun to learn about people who help other people,” Maibaum said.

The program was founded in Arizona back in 2017. The hope is to eventually expand the program throughout the other schools in Yankton.

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