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Augusta police officers mentor kids at local elementary school

Published: Dec. 2, 2021 at 4:29 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Maine (WABI) - Gilbert Elementary School in Augusta has been using the Big Brothers Big Sisters program for years with their students.

This year they introduced a new program, Bigs with Badges.

Sara Rogers of the Augusta Police Department spends one day a week with 7-year-old Riley.

“It’s just great for them to see that we’re people, too. Sometimes there’s those negative connotations towards law enforcement and they get to see us on a more personal level,” said Rogers.

The five different Augusta Police Officers who visit the school spend time with individual kids to play or just give them someone to talk to.

They might even get more out of this than the kids.

“The first day I had been here, I was out there at recess and every single little kid wanted to play with me,” said Rogers.

For Officer Rogers, that positive experience means so much.

“And they want to see us in the schools. They want to know more about us. I was answering a hundred questions while passing a football around. They want us here, and it’s a great relationship builder, and if we do deal with maybe their family in a negative situation, this will help in the future,” said Rogers.

For Riley, there’s no better way to spend her lunch time.

“In the classroom, she’s super quiet. It’s hard to pull anything out of her. But as she’s sitting there talking to her Big, I’m in the other room, and I can hear her. Wow,” said Kendra Lakeman, Dean of Students at Gilbert Elementary School.

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