NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — A new program is bringing together police officers and students. Cookies with Cops kicked off Tuesday morning with a fourth-grade class at New Haven’s Mauro Sheridan Magnet School.
Sgt. Ron Ferrante works in New Haven schools all the time as one of the city’s school resource officers. He recently had an idea about how to better connect with young people.
“I remember I sent the email out and the chief [New Haven police chief Karl Jacobson] was like ‘Absolutely,'” Ferrante said about how quickly his idea got approved. “I sent the email to the assistant superintendent, and she was like, ‘I love this, can we chat?’ and I called her in 30 seconds.”
It’s a twist on Coffee with a Cop, something police all over Connecticut have been doing for years. They get to know the community by just sitting down and having a cup of coffee with the public.
The fourth graders in Mrs. Bitterman’s class are a little young for coffee, so Ferrante went with Cookies with Cops instead.
“It’s just a silly take on being able to meet with the kids and the community in a relaxed environment,” Ferrante said. “Unfortunately, we’re not always called for a good reason.”
By sharing some cookies, stickers, and just a conversation, kids can learn from a young age that police are there to help. That relationship can then help everyone.
“People will be more willing to share information,” said Mayor Justin Elicker (D-New Haven). “That is important for officers to solve crimes. If there is a crisis, if the officers already have that relationship, can de-escalate the situation.”
New Haven police chief Karl Jacobson and Ferrante remember police officers visiting their schools when they were young, which was when they decided they wanted to be cops. So, Cookies with Cops is also a recruiting tool for the department. Maybe some of the students who participate will grow up to be police officers themselves.