ROCHESTER, Minn. - Hundreds of thousands of juveniles are arrested every year, that's according to the US Department of Justice. But for the last three years, the Rochester Police Department has been working to lower that number.
The Cops and Kids Program is an initiative to help kids in the area either get a new bicycle or repair the one they already have. Officer James Marsolek said their goal is to interact with kids and build positive relationships with them. There's been a lot of talk recently surrounding police reform and people are finding it difficult to go to law enforcement when they need help. Officer Marsolek explained they only have a limited time to make a positive impact on these kids lives. "We're the people they turn to if they do need something and if they're in times of trouble, we're here to help them," said Officer Marsolek. "Doing these acts of kindness per say, it shows them that we're good people and we're here to help in more ways than just enforcing the law."
Officer Marsolek said they've been extra busy the last few months trying to keep kids active since they've been out of school. "Video games have become such a huge event during covid. Kids being cooped up inside," explained Officer Marsolek. "I think parents are welcome to the thought of the kid and getting them outside and getting them active and doing things." Many of their other events unfortunately had to be canceled, but they're working on new ways to engage with the community in the future.