Sheriff’s Officers Are Community Helpers
Officer Amy Genola of the EBR Sheriff's Office had a mission: How to explain her job to a group of first graders at Runnels Elementary School? Their social studies teacher, Jessica Carkuff, had asked her to visit the classroom to describe what a police officer does as a community helper. Though Officer Genola said she felt anxious about explaining the concept at a level the children would understand, she came through loud and clear when she stopped by to see them on Oct. 1.
"The police help people stay safe," she told the class. A 20 year veteran of the Sheriff’s Office, Cpl. Genola said she has served in Corrections, on Uniform Patrol, as an undercover officer, and in forensics, collecting evidence at crime scenes.
To explain what a Corrections officer does, she had to talk about jail. “Jail is like a time out for adults,” she said, “where grown-ups are held accountable for their actions. In jail they can reflect on what they did wrong and think of how they can correct their behavior in the future.”
She said that Uniform Patrol means officers who ride in police cars. They respond to calls taken at the police Call Center and show up to help people who need it. “Police cars are called when somebody has a really bad day,” she said, adding that it’s best to stay away from the area where they are until you're told it's safe.
Undercover work she loosely compared to dress up. “You dress up to help get people who do really bad things arrested.”
Her work in forensics, she said, dealt with collecting evidence at crime scenes. A quick reference to CSI seemed to make that clear to most of the students.
After talking about gun safety at home and emphasizing the importance of “never ever touching a gun,” Officer Genola appointed the children Deputies for the Day. She also passed out My Friend the Sheriff activity books.
She read them the book Dear Dragon Goes to the Police Station and invited them to stop by any police station when they’re near one just to say hello. "They love it when y'all come by,” she said. “They love to meet kids!"
When a student asked her what happens when a bad guy escapes from jail, Officer Amy, who serves as the Runnels fifth-grade D.A.R.E. officer this year, quickly responded, "We catch them!"