ROANOKE, Va. – Roanoke police officers are getting off the streets in the afternoons and hanging out with kids.
“RPD Homework Helpers” are police officers who go into different after school programs around Roanoke.
Patrol Officer Galen Whorley is spending this afternoon at the West End Center.
“It’s just such a key thing to come build this bond with the kids, be able to relate with them outside of school that they can see that we’re a friendly, smiling face that’s actually here to help and not someone that’s here to intimidate,” said Whorley.
“They help people and also they have vests on,” said Malik Hash, who is in second grade.
The officers do anything from coloring, to homework to just sitting down and talking with them about their day.
“We learn about math. We do our homework and people help us do everything,” said Hash.
“We need to relate to these kids at such a young age now to show them we are nothing to be afraid of. We are here to help them in every way possible,” said Whorley.
Officers hope the kids learn a police officer can be a friend, someone to trust and they can always come to the police department for help.
“I just want to grow every relationship I possibly can with them so if I see them down the road they have no problem coming up to me and asking for help,” said Whorley.
Homework Helpers started in 2014 and they go to many sites including the Presbyterian Community Center, Boys and Girls Club, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and partner with the YMCA after school program.