Children, Police Build Relationship on MLK Day

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SCRANTON --  Years after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. led the fight for civil rights, racial tensions still exist in some communities.

Children in Scranton were given an inside look at the city's police force and the men and women wearing the badge on Monday.

Two bus loads of boys and girls made their way into police headquarters in Scranton. The children were far from being in trouble; they were there to learn.

"Is anyone scared of police officers?" asked one officer. "No," was the predominant reply. Even if the youngsters were, Scranton's finest helped them understand what roles officers play when it comes to public safety.

"Good thing we have cops because if we didn’t, bad things would happen, " said 9-year-old Lincoln McIver.

The police department provided snacks for the children and a glimpse of what they do to protect them. It was part of an event put on by the Friends of the Poor and the Greater Scranton MLK Commission.

"We have to distinguish that we’re one body, maybe different colors, but one body," said Ruth Jones with the commission.

"It’s a day we celebrate when we all come together like the whites and blacks come together and join," added 11-year-old Lily Bellamy.

Bellamy hopes by understanding police better and officers getting to know children from all different backgrounds, it will help everyone to refrain from judging a book by its cover.

Scranton's police chief believes a lot of issues can be overcome by communicating better.

"Being in schools, having a presence in schools and outside schools, every opportunity we get has to be building blocks of building positive relationships," said Chief Carl Graziano.

Whether it's seeing first hand a K-9 unit in action or getting to know the person behind the badge, the children may better understand how everyone can work together toward peace.

"We’ve been trying to teach kids not just black lives matter, all lives matter. We’re all one body together," said Jones.

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