WAXAHACHIE — It is often said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. With that in mind, the Waxahachie Police Department and the Waxahachie Independent School District have added another reason for the importance of the meal.
The department and the district have created a new program called "Cops and Kids Breakfast" that rewards elementary school students for making positive choices with breakfast with a police officer and a ride to school in a patrol car.
The program got its start almost by accident when Waxahachie Assistant Police Chief Dale Sigler took his son Brice to school one morning.
“Every Thursday morning I do 'Dads’ at the Door' for a local school that my son goes to. So I go there and give high fives to the children as they get off the buses or get out of the cars and come into the school. It is just a great volunteer deal that I do for the school,” Sigler said. “One day my son was standing at the door with me as he does a lot of the times and this young lady comes up to me and says, ‘It is not fair.’ I said, ‘What is not fair.’ She said, ‘He gets to ride to school with the policeman.’ I said, ‘Well, this young man happens to be my son.’ I saw that puzzled look on her face, and I said, ‘Police officers get to have children too.’ She was like ‘Wow, ok’ and she went about her business.”
Sigler said that interaction got him thinking and never would have thought that a kid would have thought that it would be cool to ride to school with a police officer.
“So, through the school, I asked if they would contact that child’s parent and I said would love to pick her up one day in a police car if she wanted to. So then went through all of the hoopla and got the approval and they said, ‘yes they would love to do that,’” Sigler said. “Come to find out she has an older brother in the same elementary school. So I kind of decided that day I was going to take them to breakfast that morning, too. I had to approve that too that I would pick them up a little early that morning. I picked Chick-A-fil that morning because that is where I love to eat breakfast.”
During breakfast, Sigler ran into the owner of the Waxahachie Chick-A-fil, Philip Browne, who, after hearing about the program, bought the breakfast and told Sigler that if the department continued with this outreach program that he be more than willing to provide the meals for the students. From there, Sigler got with department’s Community Service Officer Dustin Jordan who then reached out to WISD and Chick-fil-A and worked out the details to turn one random act of kindness into a monthly outreach program that connects officers with students.
Jordan said every one of the elementary schools in the district is participating in the program. The schools will select the students on a set of predetermined criteria, such as perfect attendance, making good choices and improved behavior.
“This takes place once a month. We will pick up the student from their house and take them to Chick-A-fil, who is sponsoring the meals for the kids. Then we are taking them to school where the class can come out and interact and check out the cars. We hand out some stickers and things,” Jordan said. “We had the first one in February, and it was very well received. From my understanding, the kids are all talking about it and can’t wait for the next one. Everybody is getting excited and pumped. It is a unique program for us and we personally have had a great time with it. It is a very neat idea, and we are very thankful for Chick-fil-A and Waxahachie elementary schools for teaming up with us.”
Sigler said he got to speak one student about how he was selected.
“One of the little boys that went with us the last time and I asked him how he got picked him. He said, ‘because he walked away from a fight.’ I said ‘wow, that takes a lot of courage to do that. That is a great deal,’” Sigler said. “When teachers see kids doing things like that they can put their name in the bucket that they draw their name. That was just a great thing is he got rewarded for doing the right thing. Hopeful that (doing the right thing) will spread through the campus. And if you do the right thing you may get a chance to get picked up by the police officer and get go to breakfast.”
Sigler said this program is not only rewarding for the students, but it is also rewarding for the officer because “there is nothing better than putting a smile on a kids face.” He added that it is great to know that one small step can make that child’s life better.
Waxahachie ISD Superintendent Dr. Jeremy Glenn shared the thoughts of Jordan and Sigler about the positive impact of the program on students.
“We are so fortunate to have a great relationship with the Waxahachie Police Department. Chief Wade Goolsby has been an exceptional leader for the department and has really worked hard to improve and build on the relationship between the police department and school district,” Glenn said. “I think that more than anything it is an opportunity for kids to be around police officers to see that they are advocates in the community and that they are individuals who care deeply about schools, the kids, and their safety. Anything that we can do to help promote awareness for the good things that are being done by the Waxahachie Police Department and the good things that are happening in Waxahachie ISD we are going to do that. So it has been good synergy.”
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