Campus police meets with Starpoint students

Fifth-grader Dusty Leenhouts got to talk to undercover officers Friday. First-grader Magdelene Evans said police sirens were cool, but they hurt her ears.

The sirens didn’t seem to bother third-grader Cade Curtis, who said that he might like to be a police officer one day.

The campus police department met with Starpoint School students for TCU Police’s first career day in the Kelly Alumni Center parking lot.

At the career day, students viewed different police vehicles, including a zero-tolerance van, two central patrol cars and two neighborhood patrol cars from the Fort Worth Police Department and a Dodge Durango and a T3, the Segway-looking scooter that officers use to ride around campus, from campus police.

Courtney Guhl, counselor at Starpoint, headed up the career day along with Campus Crime Prevention Officer Pam Christian. Guhl said the day helped students to become more comfortable around police officers.

“I think some children might feel intimidated, they might be afraid of police officers,” Guhl said over blaring sirens and horns of the police cars. “This is a good way to kind of introduce them to the police officers in our community.”

Fort Worth Police Officer Joel Stary works a neighborhood patrol just east of campus. He said it was the first career day he worked and agreed with Guhl that children might have a bad perception of police officers.

“One of the most important things (that career days) do is they get kids in touch with police officers outside of what we normally do, because nine times out of 10, whenever we talk to somebody it’s in a bad situation,” Stary said. “So this is a good situation where (we can) . kind of teach them what we really do and that we’re not just mean people that take people to jail. We can be nice too.”

Stary said children of that age – 6 to 11 – are deciding what they are interested in pursuing.

“You don’t ever know if they want to be the police officer they see on TV or if they want to be the real police officer,” he said. “One of the important things they get out of it is an understanding of what we really do and who we really are and what the job really is.”