Kids like cookies. And Mission police want to build a positive image with local kids.
That’s the simple idea behind Cookie with a Cop, a new program launched by the Mission Police Department as its officers work to build connections with the city’s younger community.
Brian and Sherry Sullivan, the co-owner couple of Brian’s Bakery and Eatery in downtown Mission, launched Cookie with a Cop last week, with its debut event taking place after school Friday afternoon. Half an hour in, the bakery was pretty packed with children and their families enjoying a free cookie.
Sherry Sullivan said her daughter, Shannon Plueger, came up with the idea as a way to involve children in getting to know their police officers. Their goal is to get children feel comfortable around the police.
“A lot of times, kids are not comfortable around the police,” Sherry said. “Police is kind of having a bad rap, and that’s not really how it is.”
For more than three years, Mission police officers have led regular Coffee with a Cop events. The idea is to pair free coffee with police and members of the community who may have questions or criticisms or just want to get to know their officers.
Officer Jay Fleer, who teaches the D.A.R.E. program at Rushton and Highlands elementary schools, said he enjoys working with the children.
“The best way to make friends with the community is to start at the ground level: the kids,” Fleer said. “I think it’s just a good way to get some communication going with our community.”
Officer Mikayla Vernon said she likes to get to know the children and make them happy, especially because many of them are interested in becoming a police officer when they grow up.
“The kids look up to us in a way, especially the kids that don’t have a lot; we try to make their day just a little bit better,” Vernon said. “Kids are very interesting; they’re very curious and they get very shy.”
The Sullivans plan to sponsor Cookie with a Cop again, perhaps in a quarterly fashion, but haven’t set a date yet.