As communities across the nation celebrated Dr. Seuss’s birthday on March 2, La Habra started celebrating National Education Association’s Read Across America day a little early.
Over March 1 and 2, 14 officers and professional staff of La Habra Police Department visited with La Habra preschoolers and elementary school students for a reading session of Dr. Seuss books.
“It’s a lot of fun … and the kids are funny,” said Lt. Mel Ruiz, who coordinates the agency’s participation with the various schools in La Habra City School District. “They’re very interactive and they ask a lot of good questions. It’s a good time.”
Participants from the agency included a lieutenant, two sergeants, two patrol officers, one motor officer, two detectives, a school resource officer, a records supervisor, two community services officers, a crime analyst and a communications operator.
The department members visited Ladera Palma Elementary School, Las Lomas Elementary School, The Children’s Museum at La Habra, Walnut Elementary School, Arbolita Elementary School and El Cerrito Elementary School for about an hour of reading.
“What I like to do is read a book and then open up to questions and answers,” said Ruiz, who has been participating for several years.
Not only does the agency participate in order to encourage positive reading habits in young children, but there’s also a community outreach goal.
“First of all, we don’t want them to be afraid of us,” Ruiz said, adding that the police uniform can be intimidating for some. “We’re there to help them…We’re very approachable.”
He added that other agency participants actually thanked him for letting them participate and read to the children.
“They have a great time,” he said.