Cops In The Classroom

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Espanola Police Officers Jason Gallegos, Cory Atencio, and Detention Officers German Jacquez spent the afternoon Thursday at Los Ninos Pre -K and kindergarten. Courtesy photo

Cops In The Classroom

Espanola Police Officers Jason Gallegos, Cory Atencio, and Detention Officers German Jacquez spent the afternoon Thursday at Los Ninos Pre -K and kindergarten speaking to children about safety.

When asked about having police in the classrooms, Espanola Police Department Chief Richard Gallegos… said “We will be sending officers throughout the school year to visit all the schools and begin a lunch buddy program.” Gallegos said that the Department is growing the lunch buddy program and classroom visitations to provide children a chance to interact with police as public servants and safe adults.

Nationwide incidents of police shooting and public distrust of the police has fueled sentiment for the need to ensure police know how to deal with youth in crisis and for young people to recognize police as public servants and public safety officials rather than adversarial authority figures.

Following the 2014 Espanola police shooting that resulted in the death of 16 year old Victor Villalpando, the Espanola Police Department has pursued an intensive week long crisis intervention training for several of its officers and has plans to train all uniformed police.  The Espanola Police Department has worked with the Rio Arriba Health Council to provide this training to all interested individuals or groups. Other departments that have had officers participate in teh training include the Rio Arriba Sheriff’s department and Los Alamos Police Department.