By Mike Dougherty

CAMDEN, N.J. (CBS) — Some police officers in Camden are being paired up with kindergarteners as part of a program to promote the importance of reading.

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Today, at Bonsall Elementary School, officer Gabrielle Camacho said she looks forward to her 30 minutes with the students each week.

“(It) gives them a positive idea of what officers are and that we are here to help them — we’re here to help guide them,” she said.

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The program is called “Pacer” — Police And Congress [Mayor Dana Redd’s “Congress of Residents and Faith-Based Community Organizations”] Enjoy Reading — and it’s been popular with both the cops and the kids.  So popular, in fact, that Camden schools superintendent Paymon Rouhanifard is thinking about expanding it to more students.

“It promotes a joy of reading, and it allows our students to have mentors,” he said, “so the relationships they build with our local community leaders means a lot to them and it means a lot to our leaders as well.”

He says an early love of reading often translates into a thirst for knowledge that lasts a lifetime.

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