RIVERTON, Utah (ABC4) – The day wasn’t all law and order for one of Salt Lake County’s police departments. Rather, a day of community engagement with students in Jordan School District.
Out on the field, sixth graders from Riverton’s six elementary schools took in the early summer air with the city’s annual kickball tournament on Thursday. Students competed for the championship with Riverton City police officers reffing the games.
“It was fun, it was a team effort. And we’ve grown together as a team,” said Lucy Roberts, a sixth-grader at Foothills Elementary School.
Many of the officers at the day’s event work as school resource and Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) officers in the city’s schools.
“The message obviously is important to promote healthy habits and promote interaction with people. And frankly, to keep them away from developing the bad habits,” said Police Chief Don Hutson.
The Kick-It Kickball Tournament was an opportunity for police to interact with students in a social setting.
“They feel more comfortable when I’m called out and something that may be happening in their lives and they know it’s me,” said Michael Ashley, a school resource and D.A.R.E. officer. “So, when they see us, they’re not scared of the uniform.”
And to encourage students to say no to drugs and alcohol.
“It goes along with the theme of our D.A.R.E. program and this is just kind of to emphasize those differing values,” Hutson said.
A day of kickball wins and losses, students said sharing the field with officers made for a memorable day.
“They did good. They had good sportsmanship and they were good,” said Kaleo Garcia, a sixth-grader at Foothills Elementary School.
“I think it’s awesome. They’re so nice and everything. You feel safe and you feel awesome,” said Easton Wartman, a sixth-grader at Riverton Elementary School.
More community events are being planned for the summer months where locals and officers will be able to interact with one another.