KCPD officers hang out, eat lunch with Center High School students

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - KCPD officers were at Center High School Wednesday, not because anyone was in trouble, but to hang out at lunch.

Visits like these are part of KCPD's Hot Spots program, where officers visit schools and community events to interact with youth.

They hope to build trust and better relationships.

"A lot of times, especially with young kids, some of the only experience they have with police is when they're at their house on a very bad day, or standing at their window writing them a ticket that's going to cost a lot of money and get them in trouble with their parents," Captain Ryan Mills said.

The officers love the visits, and notice the kids even like it, too.

"There's been times where kids have been visibly afraid of me. There was a young kid who was shaking and he was so nervous I was there,” he said. “After having a conversation, he hugged me and said I really appreciated this"

The program aims to show youth that they can approach cops without the fear of being in trouble.

"When they first came, people were like, oh my god why are the police here, is somebody in trouble? It's good to know they were here to interact with us," junior Victor William said. "It makes me feel way more comfortable."

Even undercover officers and detectives participate in Hot Spots.

If you want KCPD officers to visit your school, event, or business, you can call the department at (816) 234-5170.

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Sarah Plake can be reached at Sarah.Plake@KSHB.com

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