La Grange Police Department using unique methods to build better - WDRB 41 Louisville News

La Grange Police Department using unique methods to build better relationships with community

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The La Grange Police Department is using trading cards and pens to start conversations. And those are just a few of the unique ways officers are finding to connect with the people in their communities.

"The public perception and images of police departments have taken a hit," Maj. Bruce Goodfleisch said. "With all the high controversial shootings and that sort of thing, we have to be able to come back with something positive to be able to overcome all that."

In an effort to break negative stereotypes about police departments, the department is using some unique methods.

They created their own set of trading cards with a picture of each La Grange officer on the front.

Sixteen very different cards make a set, but all serve the same purpose.

"The main focus of it was we wanted to connect with the kids in our community and get them not scared to talk to us and to understand that we are here to help them at an early age," Goodfleisch said.

Now, when kids approach officers asking for a trading card, a conversation starts.

"We learn names, we talk about interests, we talk about school, we ask them if there's anything that they'd like to tell us, and we just reinforce to them that were here to help," Goodfleisch said.

"Don't ever be scared to approach a police officer with anything, and we've formed a lot of new friendships."

And the trading cards aren't the only tool this department uses to make new friends. They recently introduced the newest member of the La Grange Police Department. 

Their new officer goes by the name of Lil' Chief, a pen who doubles as an LPD officer with the mission to remind kids that police officers are friends.

"It's something to break the ice so the community will come up and actually interact with the officers, so they don't just see us driving around in cars and we're not always just there for when something bad is happening," Goodfleisch said.

It's a trend departments across Kentucky are using to connect.

The Lexington Police Department posted a video on its Facebook page showing that that police officers are people too.

It's already gotten over one million hits.

"We're just like them," Goodfleisch said. "We go to sleep at night like they do, we eat like they do, we have personal lives like they do, and we want them to feel comfortable with us. We're humans like everyone else, and the better our relationship is with the community, the more trust they have in us."

Maj. Goodfleisch says the trading cards are already doing the job, helping officers build better relationships with residents.

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