Officers (and one horse) capture hearts during MMI visit

by John Keenan, UNMC public relations | July 19, 2013

Image with caption: Officers let children sit in the police cars during a visit to the Munroe-Meyer Institute.

Officers let children sit in the police cars during a visit to the Munroe-Meyer Institute.

In May, the Omaha Police Department spent some time with children from the Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders at the Munroe-Meyer Institute.

The visit was the first of its kind, but it was such a success that MMI's Christy Williams is hoping it becomes regular occurence.

Although the visit was planned for the Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders and Pediatric Feeding Disorders, any patients and their families at Munroe-Meyer were invited to take part.

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Officer Rich Stickney and Lucy were big favorites at MMI.
Williams called the visit "both fun and informational."

The kids asked several questions of the officers, and the police horse (Lucy, ridden by Officer Rich Stickney) was a big hit with the kids, she said.

In addition, the officers brought "Johnny Justice," a big air-filled policeman, and Officer Darrell Greene allowed the children to get in the police car and even run the siren.

"The parents loved it," Williams said. Some children who had already left for the day came back just to meet the policemen, she added.

The Omaha Police Department informed Williams that they would come back anytime to visit Munroe-Meyer's children.

Children like meeting the mounted officers, and officers enjoy meeting children, said Sgt. Tammy Mitchell of the OPD mounted patrol. The Munroe-Meyer visit is one of many events and services Omaha police officers attend.

"Obviously, we enjoy these types of visits," she said. "An important part of our job is getting the community, especially children, to realize that police officers are human beings, out in the community to solve problems and help people."

Sgt. Mitchell said she saw the visit as an opportunity to provide a fun and exciting event for the children of Munroe-Meyer.

Right now, Williams is hoping to make the visit an annual event -- perhaps even once every six months.

"They are very generous," Williams said of the police officers. "But I also think they had as much fun as the kids did."

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