For scores of elementary school students throughout Anaheim on Wednesday morning, it was a walk to remember.
It also was a memorable morning for Anaheim Police Chief Raul Quezada, Deputy Chief Julian Harvey and more than 50 APD officers and members of the agency’s command staff who fanned out to 24 schools in the Anaheim City School District to participate in International Walk to School Day.
This year marked the first time the Anaheim PD has participated in the event, which has been staged since 1997 to promote safe routes to school as well as boost awareness about the health benefits of walking.
International Walk to School Day now is a global event that involves communities from more than 40 countries walking and biking to school on the same day.
Between 6 and 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, teams of APD officers met students at pre-designated locations and escorted them to school. Some officers greeted students at certain schools as they arrived.
One mother told an officer at Guinn Elementary School that she normally doesn’t let her child walk to school alone, and that her child was thrilled to be able to finally do so.
Chief Quezada has made establishing strong ties to the community and focusing on the safety and welfare of children two of his priorities.
“An event like this reminds all of us how priceless our children are,” Quezada said. “They are the future of our communities.”
Anaheim was among 611 cities in California to participate in this year’s walk on Oct. 8. Along with Los Angeles, Santa Rosa and Glendale, Anaheim also was among the cities that visited the most schools.
During the event, APD officers gave students high-fives and handed out police badge stickers. The PD’s mounted enforcement unit, K9 units and motor officers also were on hand to generate excitement among the youngsters.
“Having our officers connect with our city’s youth is critical for the future of Anaheim, and this morning was a great opportunity for our officers to start off their day by exchanging smiles with the children of the Anaheim City School District,” Quezada said.