Photo by Kira Erickson/Whidbey News Group
                                Chief of Police Don Lauer answers questions from first grader Ryu Peng and second grader Logan Caravan on Thursday.

Photo by Kira Erickson/Whidbey News Group Chief of Police Don Lauer answers questions from first grader Ryu Peng and second grader Logan Caravan on Thursday.

Langley police chief lunches with select few of city’s smallest citizens

A very important meeting was held Thursday between Langley Chief of Police Don Lauer and six esteemed citizens.

During lunchtime at South Whidbey Elementary School, Lauer met with some of the island’s smallest denizens, who were all being recognized for their exemplary behavior in school.

The partnership between Lauer and the South Whidbey School District for the monthly event, “Dining with the Chief,” began last fall. The purpose, the chief said, is to build trust between kids and local law enforcement.

He borrowed the idea from when he worked in Granite Falls, where it had tremendous success.

“It was a great opportunity to build some relationships with kids, give them the opportunity to talk with the chief of police and ask some fun questions,” Lauer said.

He added, “It also creates a relaxed sense for the kids because it makes police officers approachable for them. It helps to overcome any nervousness they might feel.”

Lauer has enjoyed the conversations he’s had so far with Whidbey kids. He finds they are more willing to share their ideas and talk about themselves than other kids.

Lauer fielded questions last Thursday from elementary school students about being tased, using his baton and about who does the most work in the police department.

Other topics of conversation included the Titanic, the chief’s glasses and beloved pets.

Kids from kindergarten to fourth grade sat down to lunch and claimed their “outstanding citizen of the month” awards. One of the students, fourth grader Emma Bennett, was recognized for her quick action in helping a friend who was choking on a piece of candy.

Most kids expressed surprise at being selected for the honor.

“I feel it is so special,” second grader Logan Caravan said.

After meeting Lauer, many said they want to be police officers when they grow up.

“I’m officially hired,” Logan declared with enthusiasm when the chief helped him affix a plastic sheriff’s badge to the front of his shirt. He plans to be an undercover cop.

Third grader Arianna Boden shares a fist bump with Police Chief Don Lauer.

Third grader Arianna Boden shares a fist bump with Police Chief Don Lauer.

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