First-graders ‘Adopt a Cop’
FAIRMONT — New this year at Fairmont Area Schools is resource officer Mike Beletti.
While the school has had a resource officer in the past, it had gone several years without one. Beletti’s main office is at Fairmont Jr./Sr. High School, but he splits his time between the high school and elementary school.
This being his first year, Beletti decided he wanted to revive a program he had heard about. So “Adopt A Cop” began this year at Fairmont Elementary, with first-grade classrooms “adopting” a Fairmont police officer.
“This is a full-year program,” Beletti explained. “Our goal is to build relationships with the kids and let them get to know us.”
He said that all six first-grade classrooms are participating, as well as six Fairmont police officers.
“These officers are volunteering their time,” Beletti said. “I put out a notice, like a first-come, first-served thing, and had officers come forward immediately. There was no problem at all finding volunteers.”
The officers meet with their first-grade classroom once per month. The first meeting was at the end of September, when police officers were introduced to their classrooms. Moving forward, Beletti said officers have a certain theme each month. Coming up, they will go over Halloween safety and, down the line, maybe do bicycle safety, playground safety, etc.
“We hope that this will create good conversations for the kids to have at home. We want to build trust,” Beletti said.
The plan is to offer Adopt A Cop every year from now on in the first-grade classroom.
“We’ll spiral down and cycle through so that eventually the whole school will have gone through the program,” Beletti said.
So far, positive feedback has been received through social media, as well as from staff in the district.
“We just want the kids to make a relationship with an officer and know that we’re here to help,” Beletti said.