Strong community partnerships are an important part of preparing Wake County students for college and career. In one of those programs, law enforcement officers keep students engaged with a mix of fun activities, team building and academic incentives.
In Garner, Police Chief Brandon Zuidema coaches East Garner Middle students in a fun teambuilding exercise. Zuidema and other Garner police meet with 20 students in the PAAL program after school once a week.
“The students learn the police can be their friends,” Zuidema said. “The police can be someone they can turn to when they need help.”
Raleigh Police Officer R. F. Murphy worked with Parks and Recreation and East Millbrook Magnet Middle to establish a weekly afterschool program. Murphy joins Parks and Recreation staff who lead icebreakers, flag football and homework help for students
“This program is a perfect example of what we can give back to the community,” said Murphy. “Working with these students allows me to connect directly with youth in the community I work in.”
Students and officers also work together in athletic leagues and summer programs sponsored by law enforcement.