ROSCOE (WIFR) – One of the programs introduced at last year's State of the County address was the Knock and Talk initiative.
Now in addition to visiting us at our homes, deputies are also visiting our kids at school.
High fives and waves between students and deputies is now a common sight in Kinnikinnick Schools.
"I know the kids love us here. They always want to talk and ask questions," Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department Senior Deputy Pat Speer, said.
"I think it’s really great to see police officers when they're not dealing with you in an emergency situation. They're used to seeing them; they know they're here to protect them," Stone Creek Elementary School 3rd Grade Teacher Erikka Coletta, said.
Senior Deputy Pat Speer and Roscoe Police Corporal Sam Hawley walk the halls at Stone Creek Elementary School every day, making sure doors are locked and the building is secure.
"Just checking things out, making sure everything is okay and if the school staff has something, a problem or something we're here and they can, they don't have to call us. We're here, we're already here, and they know we're coming at some point in the day," Sr. Deputy Speer said.
"Officer presence is the biggest deterrent for any major events including school shootings," Cpl. Hawley, said.
The walk-thru’s are an extension of the sheriff's departments Knock and Talk program, designed to introduce the community, even kids, to authorities.
“Some of feelings they've had have been you know I feel more secure because they're here, I feel they're here to protect me, it makes me feel safe," Coletta said.
The same deputies and officers walk the schools at different times every day.
In addition to the Kinnikinnick Schools deputies also do daily walk-thru’s at Shirland School.