There was an unusually short line-up at the Tumut Police Station recently as 26 Adelong Preschool children headed to the cop shop for a tour.
The kids were escorted through the charge room for a hands-on encounter with local law enforcement.
“The children were excited to get their fingerprints done,” said Adelong Preschool director Rachael Hassett.
“We also had a talk about the equipment they [the officers] had on them, how they keep us safe and what we would do if we saw a police officer down the street when we’re lost.”
The kids got up close to the highway patrol vehicles and paddy wagons, and tried to see how many children could pile into the boat.
“We could fit everyone inside the boat and that was exciting,” Rachael said.
Before the visit, Rachael said, the preschoolers often talked about the police and, once the visit was booked, they had been counting down the days.
“We quite often see the police drive past and there’s been lots of excitement when they do and we decided to go visit them,” she said.
“There’s been lots of play about police and locking people up in jail and we decided we’d show them what police do and how they look after, protect and keep us safe.
“The police were excited to have us visit the station.”
At the end of the tour, Rachael said one of the youngsters wanted to stay and sleep there for the night, while another student said he would like to become a police officer when he grew up.
The director said it was vital for the preschoolers at their age to be shown the officers in the community and the work they did.
“Police are what we call ‘safe people’ and if the children are lost or if something happens, they can go to a police officer and tell them,” Rachael said.
“We try and paint a positive picture of police because families don’t always do so and we visit the police station once a year.”
Tumut Police Station Inspector Josh Broadfoot said the officers had ”loved” hosting the children.
“We love having young kids there [at the station] to build a relationship with them so they’re not scared of police … they can come and seek us out if they ever need us,” Insp Broadfoot said.
“We don’t want them to be scared of the police and we want them to have a positive relationship with us.
“We’d like to thank the preschool for reaching out. We love having the kids around. They brighten the place up for us.”
Insp Broadfoot confirmed the fingerprints were given back to the students.