MEMPHIS, Tenn. — As incidents around the country involving police officers continue to make headlines, Memphis Police are trying to counter that narrative by spending time with kids at a series of community events.
The public often connects police officers with images of yellow crime scene tape and flashing blue lights. But Wednesday, officers were at Ten Mile Creek Apartments in Parkway Village, hoping a different image takes hold.
“This is a community oriented policing endeavor that our COPS unit put together to reach out to children and parents in terms of what we’re doing to help the community,” said MPD Lt. Col. Eddie Bass.
Community advocate Sunshine Washington helps police organize these events. She’s a graduate of their citizens academy, and wants to give back to her city.
“I was raised in Foote Homes. So I understand what community policing is,” Washington said. “We knew those officers. If we did something, we was OK with them correcting us. It wasn’t anything different. We need to bring that back.”
Tannis Jackson was at the event with her 5-year-old son, Edward. She says at his young age, she has already taught him how to deal with officers.
“Always know how to conduct yourself around police. Always say ‘Yes sir, no sir’ when they ask a question,” Jackson said.
Edward is one of the many reasons police say they’re doing this.
“They should view police as their friend, as a resource, an entity we can come to in times not just trouble but for any circumstance,” Bass said.
There are several more outreach events happening this summer, including one Thursday at the Lester Community Center.