I became aware of Children First about 10 years ago when I became police chief and joined Rotary. It was there that I met Carl and Gil and Wayne and all the others who had the wisdom and saw the need.
My memory is really about the alignment between the Children First philosophy and the Community Policing philosophy. The two philosophies share so much that they are naturally interwoven. The basics are services like school liaison and DARE in the schools, which have been followed by cops helping kids with homework and participating in after school programming.
In the past few years our cops have taken things to an even deeper level. Siar Nadem at the Junior High not only coaching and mentoring groups of kids, but Paul Barnes organizing summer activities on Thursday nights for Louisiana Court and the surrounding area.
Because the officers have learned to understand the value of the asset building and the impact on behavior, the relationships between cops and kids are most often “bottom up” and not administratively driven. Our cops are touching kids lives every day using the lens of asset building.
Our police officers are doing things today that cops in many communities might look at as “not my job” or “social work” but the reality is asset building has everything to do with kids making good choices and opting away from destructive behavior.
I cannot take any credit for the origins of Children First, but I am really glad that some very wise and determined people saw the need and made it an opportunity.
Chief of Police
City of St. Louis Park