by Keith Russell | CBS 11 Sports

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – When a Dallas police officer says “I’m ready to read to y’all”…. it’s a sentence that speaks volumes about the importance of kids learning….from a real life experience.

Robert Munoz of the Dallas PD Office of Community Affairs says “we have to start with our young ones….we wanna build that foundation at a young age”. A foundation of understanding…. that every single book cannot be judged by its cover.

Dallas Police Major Juan Salas explains “we wanna bridge that gap as community partners…..not just them against us….or us against them”.

There’s no question about the impact it can have to interact with an officer for the first time….up close and personal. Kids at a precious young age with a chance to read with Dallas’s finest hopefully is an experience that will last a lifetime”.

Courtney Underwood, Chairperson of Safer Dallas, Better Dallas, says “they see them cheering and laughing and clapping….I think it’s gonna transform a generation”.

The heavy police presence at Clinton P Elementary School in Dallas… was hard not to notice… so was Cowboys Hall of Famer Charles Haley and his Tackle Tomorrow Foundation partnering with Dallas PD.

Speaking to a class, Haley told the children “it’s not about walking in the house…here’s Po-Po to get mom and dad….no, their job is to serve”.

Charles Haley (credit: Keith Russell)

Haley made it clear….he’d like to be a liaison whenever possible between law enforcement and youth but also where kids currently stand academically and where they should be.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive end explains “you know what I say to kids at this age…dream big…and don’t let people take that voice because they take that power”.

Something as simple as reading aloud …..baby steps….can bring positive change in a way you won’t believe.