NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Police Officer Justin Delacruz has developed his own program that is being picked up by schools across North Texas.
The program helps break down barriers between students and how they view police officers.READ MORE: Tarrant County Public Health Director Talks With Concerned Moms About Kids, Classrooms And COVID-19
“It really hit me whenever we started going to schools and children would start doing that‚ ‘hey officer please don’t hurt me’,” Officer Delacruz said. “I knew there had to be something that we could do.”
He said, in 2018, an idea came to him in a dream.
“I call it an epiphany from God‚” he said.
That epiphany was an alter ego he calls, “Officer Maxwell.”READ MORE: At Least 10 Dead, More Than A Dozen Injured After Overloaded Van Carrying Migrants Crashes In South Texas
“My whole dream and goal of this being something that brought police officers closer to children and families‚” said Delacruz, who is not at liberty to say which North Texas police department he works for.
With a broad smile and outgoing personality, “Officer Maxwell” is an unintimidating figure who tries to humanize the profession of policing and promote trust in the kids he meets.
Officer Delacruz dresses up as the character for live presentations called Patrol Stories, educating children on various topics, such as the role of the police and 911 safety, in a fun way filled with interaction, music and dancing.
“It’s about making police officers very relatable to them,” he said. “It makes me feel like we are doing something right. It makes me feel like it is working. Right now, we need to do everything possible to create some kind of unity and create these positive interactions.”
Just last year, Delacruz performed in front of more than 5,000 children locally and now he’s put more than $30,000 of his own money into Patrol Stories, hoping to turn it into a nationally-known program.MORE NEWS: 'Wow, There Goes The Ground': North Texan Wally Funk Shares Story Of Her Dream Journey Into Space
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