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Milwaukee police building bonds with kids at the Milwaukee County Zoo

Posted at 6:22 PM, Jun 20, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-20 19:22:14-04

There was a heavy police presence at the Milwaukee County Zoo, but no crimes were committed. Instead, it was an opportunity to connect with the community.

Milwaukee police officers from Districts 2 and 5 invited children from the north and south sides to take a trip with them to the zoo for some fun, hoping to forge new friendships with dozens of neighborhood youngsters.

Officer Edward Ciano came up with the idea and was gratified with what he witnessed.

“When everybody met you could see it. There was hugging. There was shaking hands. There was excitement,” Ciano said. “When we broke up into groups everybody was just excited to be here together.”

There were plenty of smiles from both the police and the children.

Officer John Schaefer said it was an opportunity to, “Interact with them somewhere outside the streets, you know we’re here. We’re having fun. We’re learning about the animals. We’re learning together. I’m actually learning a lot of things myself.”

It was all about building a bond. So, if someday, heaven forbid, the circumstances are different, a sense of trust will already be established. Tuesday’s trip seemed to go a long way toward reaching that goal.

Twelve-year-old Keyori Hampton claims she had a different impression of the police after spending time together. 

“There’s like more to them than what we see than like on the news and everything that they’re actually well and good and human like we are,” she said.

Meantime, 13-year-old  Xavier Foreman believes, “Police, they’re people too, and they got souls too, and they care about things, and they care about us.”