Fallen officer remembered through backpack drive - AZEdNews
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Fallen officer remembered through backpack drive

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  • Kristen Landry/Laveen Elementary School District

Phoenix Police Commander Tom Van Dorn Assists A Student Select A New Backpack . Photo Courtesy Maricopa Unified School District
Every first grader at Cheatham Elementary School in Laveen Elementary School District received a new backpack filled with school supplies in honor of fallen police officer.

The David Glasser Foundation invited the students to the local Peter Piper Pizza before the start of school to pick out a new backpack and interact with police officers.

Phoenix Police officer David Glasser was killed in the line of duty last year while responding to a call in the Cheatham neighborhood. The foundation created in his name has one goal — to provide opportunities for law enforcement officers and the people they serve to connect and learn through community events and resources.

This event gave officers the opportunity to interact in a positive environment with the community that they serve. The foundation’s first give-back event benefited the students living in the very neighborhood where he lost his life.

Before being treated to pizza and games, each student was partnered with an officer to help them select a backpack from the hundreds that were available. “Who’s your favorite cartoon character?” the officer asked before leading the child to the tables filled with backpacks. The little girl held on to the pink and purple My Little Pony bag before being quickly swayed by Paw Patrol. As she tried on her new bookbag the officer tightened the straps for a perfect fit.

Then it was out to the restaurant parking lot where families had the opportunity to watch a K9 demonstration, jump in the SWAT Bearcat vehicle, and test their robot maneuvering skills. Even McGruff the crime dog stopped by to visit with the kids. The Police Explorers were also on hand to fingerprint the children and hand out stickers.

Students who were unable to make it to the event were given a second opportunity at the school’s Meet the Teacher Night. Officers showed up to that event as well to help children select their special bag.

Each backpack contained all the school supplies needed for the new school year. The backpacks were collected a week prior to the give-away at the same location. The goal of collecting 100 backpacks was surpassed in the first half hour with the foundation bringing in 400 backpacks at their very first drive.

“May the legacy and spirit of David Glasser live on,” said one mother, in appreciation for her child’s new bag. Judging from the smiles on the faces of the students, their parents, and the officers, the foundation found the perfect way to positively connect officers and the community they serve while honoring Officer Glasser’s memory.