By ASHLEY FOX
Lake County Leader
Law enforcement from around Lake County swarmed K.William Harvey Elementary in Ronan last week, spending the morning patrolling the campus.
For the last twenty years, Role Model Readers has taken place, giving guests from around the community a chance to have breakfast with students before school starts.
Third grade teacher Peggy Rowe organized the event, which she said is received with eagerness from both students and the officers themselves.
“It’s a way to honor our law enforcement officers to show that we really appreciate them,” Rowe said.
Students made cards that went back to the departments, along with trays of cookies.
Taking part in the morning breakfast were Ronan Police, Flathead Tribal Police, Polson Police and Lake County Sheriff’s Office.
Some officers made the trip to the school on their day off, while others coordinated so that multiple officers could be present from the same department.
“A couple of times a year you can bring all the entities in together,” Rowe said, adding, “I think it’s really amazing our law enforcement officers work together.”
Rowe said that about 345 students from Kindergarten through fourth grade participated, while preschool students had breakfast with Lake County Sheriff Don Bell.
During breakfast, students went around to as many officers as possible, getting their signatures on their arms.
Rowe said that there’s a competition between the students to get the most John Hancocks as possible during each breakfast.
“When they come to the school, they are heros. Just like any sports start or rock star, you want to get their autographs,” she said with a laugh.
High school teams and other community members join in through the year. When the high school students visit, it shows them they can help mentor, Rowe said.
When law enforcement visits, the students walk away with the thought “that it’s cool to be” a police officer, or be friends with one, she added.
Throughout the morning, officers also visited classrooms to say a quick hello, Rowe said.
The interaction between officers and youths builds a trust from the youngsters, Rowe explained, who see the authority figures as less intimidating.