Open the Door to Your Local Police Station

Grade Level: 
3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
Civic Responsibility/Virtue
Open the door to your local police station and find out what they do to make your community a better place. This guide introduces you to the work of the police department as a first step before you contact a similar resource in your own community. We think you'll be inspired to find a way to support their work with your own creative service and learning to make a real impact.

The "Open Doors to Your Community" project is a virtual door that guides young people to the actual door of local resources so they can learn about their community, take action, and build connections and understanding of their roles in community. 

What Is the Purpose of Public Safety?

A local police department serves communities by keeping people safe, enforcing laws, developing relationships, and making sure young people have the resources they need. Police departments welcome community members to ask them questions so everyone can learn together. Police departments may participate in trainings that help them understand diverse populations. Some departments provide services like "Shop with a Cop" and community fundraisers. You can get to know your local police officers and help raise funds for their community events. What do you know about your local police department and what would you like to know?  

Meet the School Police Officer

In this brief video, we meet Austin Morris from Ludington Police Department. Officer Morris introduces us to a few of the many services provided by a police department and tells what volunteers can do to help. 

Contact Your Police Department

Call and ask for the community liaison to set up a phone call or in-person interview. Tell them you'd like to learn more about the work of the police department so you can get involved or volunteer to help their mission. Ask for 30 minutes or an hour of their time. The Interview Script linked here and below can help you make the call.

Interview Questions

These questions can help you learn about your community and ways you can get involved.

  1. What is the main purpose of the police department? This may be its mission or vision. 
  2. What are some challenges in the community that police officers seek to address?
  3. What are some programs that address those issues?
  4. What can a young person do to promote community safety?
  5. How can a youth perspective help local police officers address a concern?  

Take Action in Your Community

Reflect on the work of the police in your community. What can you help them do? Your voice and time matter. The resources below can help you plan a project. 

The best service-learning projects guide us to gain and use knowledge, are led by youth voice and passion, address a need, and develop connections with local resources over time.

Some young people like to thank police officers by bringing snacks or thank you cards to the department. Other youth plan or participate in community events that promote community relationships across neighborhoods.

Learning to Give Issue Area Toolkits include background on the issue, community connections, lessons and activities, project ideas, and planning guides. Check out the Equity and Justice Service-Learning Toolkit here.

Learning to Give Service Sparks guides provide directions for generous actions that encourage youth voice and promote the common good. Check out the Gratitude for Essential Workers service project here.

Learning to Give Literature guides combine selected literature with thought-provoking discussions and activities that teach about giving and civic engagement. Children of all ages can read the community-building book The Circles All Around Us. The young adult book All American Boys is a realistic story from two perspectives involving police brutality. 

More about Public Safety

Fun Facts:

  • Around 12% of the police officers in the US are women. 

  • About 33% of a police officer's time is spent in enforcing criminal law. 

  • The term “Cops” came from the copper buttons on early police officer uniforms.  

Other Services Police Departments Provide:

  • Maintaining public order and safety
  • Enforcing the law
  • Preventing, detecting, and investigating criminal activities  through relationship building and training 
  • School resource officer