I was taking an order today for a police officer who was starting a program of “years of service” pins for his fellow officers. He started speaking about the purpose behind this move, as many customers tend to do, and mentioned that where he works in New York, police officers are not always looked upon as heroes or the good guys, but as threats. And while that was an unfortunate truth for him, what he pointed out next seemed to genuinely sadden him.
He explained that because many of the adults in his precinct were wary of police officers for one reason or another, it led to many of the children in the area to have the same sense of distrust when they saw a policeman, or even worse, outright fear. For the reason, he was not only looking to boost the morale of his fellow officers with years of service pins, but he ended up purchasing hundreds of smiley face lapel pins as well.
His idea is to hand these out to officers and when they’re walking the streets and see a child, to make sure to say hello, hand them a pin, and try to give them a different impression of officers, to let them know that if they ever need help, police officers are their friends, and are there to help. He admitted it was a little bit corny, but I pointed out that doctors will do the same thing with suckers after they give children shots. To remind them in a simple way that they’re on the same team, friends, and can be trusted. He hadn’t thought of that before.
So if you live out on the east coast, in New York, and you see any kids with smiley face lapel pins on, go and thank a police officer. And tell them I said hello!