By Kristen Johanson
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – SEPTA’s police force wants to improve relationships with riders, and they are doing so with a small piece of paper.
SEPTA officers want kids to consider them a friend, someone to turn for help. Chief Thomas Nestel says this week, they have started to hand out blue index cards asking parents to start the conversation:
“I’ve had parents point me out to their little people and say, ‘he’s going to arrest you,’ and I have said, ‘no, I’m not going to arrest you. I’m your friend. Hi’.”
Subway rider and mother, Amanda, calls it a positive step:
“I don’t see anything wrong with communication between police officers and children. They should be to be able to trust someone other than their parents.”
Marsheedah rides the subway with her daughter, and says she wants her kids to know who to turn to if they’re in trouble:
“As much stuff going on in this world, they gotta know that someone is here. Like if a child is lost, they gotta be able to go to somebody for help.”
Chief Nestel hopes riders embrace the effort:
“We’ll see how the parents accept it. We will see if it makes a difference, and if not, we’ll tweak it. And if not, we’ll take it to another level.”
The program is voluntary for officers.