Gulfport PD visit Orange Grove Elementary for lunch

It’s not every day you see the local police chief at your child’s school, but Gulfport’s men and women in blue were out in full force at Orange Grove Elementary School today.

Protect and serve: that’s what these Gulfport police officers do on a daily basis, but on this day, the tables were turned at Orange Grove Elementary School as students in the Beta Club shared lunch with local police. Deputy Chief Chris Ryle said, “You know you’re busy all day, but you get to come here, relax, and laugh with these kids and hear their stories and what they like to do and it’s just, give us an opportunity to come down to human level to them and us not be an authoritative figure, just a regular human being.”

That’s what this gathering is all about, reaching out beyond the badge and building trust and relationships with young people in our area. “So, this gives us an opportunity to meet with them and to give them that positive contact with us and let them know that we are here to help them. Our job is not to arrest everybody, but to help.”

Today’s lunch wasn’t just for police officers to sit down and educate students, but to give the students the opportunity to sit down and talk with heroes. Orange Grove fourth grader Lola Wells said, “I think that police officers help protect people in our community and they just help keep people safe.”

Something Lola has experienced first-hand as she sat alongside Deputy Chief Chris Ryle all smiles as she and Gulfport’s finest shared good food and fellowship. “These kids are great. They make me laugh, their stories, their questions. It’s just a good, relaxing part of our day. Once a week we get to go out and do this and it just makes our week all that much better.”

Categories: Featured, Harrison County, Local News, News

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