SIOUX CITY (AP) — Sioux City Police are using officer trading cards as a way to connect with children in the community.
The collectible cards, similar to baseball cards, offer a photo of a police officer on the front, with some statistics and personal information on the back. Sioux City police have been handing out the cards for nearly 20 years, and in that time, the cards’ popularity among children has grown, police say.
“It’s almost like the ice cream truck,” said Officer Valerie Rose.
Sioux City officers usually stuff a handful of cards in their shirt pockets or hand them out to children when their squad cars are waved down in residential neighborhoods, the Sioux City Journal reported.
Officer Jacob Noltze’s card shows him and his K-9 partner, Odin.
The dog makes it one of the most sought-after police trading cards among Sioux City children, Noltze said.
The cards began as a community policing program. The idea was to “break the ice” with children, said Lt. Rex Mueller.
“It was to give kids a reason to approach the officers and talk to them and kind of build that bond between the officers and younger members of the community who wouldn’t normally approach us,” Mueller said.
Officers also give out mini-footballs, temporary tattoos and stickers bearing the Sioux City Police logo.
With all those treats, Officer Paul Yaneff said just walking down the street in some neighborhoods will attract kids.
“I think the biggest thing is approachability, so ... they know that we’re not a bad individual,” he said.