Kids play dodgeball with police to say thanks for safe start to school year

Chicago police officers assigned to Safe Passage patrols play a game of dodgeball with Shields Elementary 7th graders Friday in Brighton Park. (Joe Ward / DNAinfo)

BRIGHTON PARK — After police officers and students helped to make this back-to-school season a safe one at Shields Elementary School, the two groups got together to celebrate with a dodgeball tournament.

Officers on Safe Passage patrols near Shields Elementary, at 2611 W. 48th St., and other South Side schools joined with seventh-graders from the school Friday for an afternoon of dodgeball and friendly interaction. Students put on the officers’ gear and asked questions about the job, with officers taking the time to get to the know the school community and have a positive interaction.

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“I love the officers interacting with the kids. It’s great,” said Francis Valadez, commander for the department’s Area Central, which coordinates after-school patrols for the area. “They’re wearing our vests, having fun. We’re showing that we like having fun, too. This is what it’s all about.”

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