Ashley Babbitt Photo
Norwich Police Officer Thomas Miller and his K9 Nitro visited the Norwich Family YMCA pre-k students recently, to show them what a K9 is, and the things a K9 does. Teacher Kaitlin Korver said she organized the event to go along with the ‘community helpers’ theme for the class. “I think it’s important for children to understand what police officers and police dogs do in case they ever need help or are lost,” said Korver. “This is the same for firefighters. I don’t want my students to fear firefighters either.”
Miller and Nitro went on a mission in front of the students, to show that Nitro is able to find certain items on command. “At the preschool age we do not state what the dogs are necessarily looking for, but Miller showed us that Nitro could find things that were bad for us.” Korver added that she thinks the children especially enjoyed when Nitro did his special “trick” of finding a hidden object in special boxes.
Miller said, “I really enjoyed spending time with the children in Ms. Korver’s classes. The children were very well mannered and showed a lot of interest in the K9. I think it’s a great experience for the children, myself, and the K9 to get to spend time together and also explain to the children that we’re there to help them and their families, not just ‘get the bad guys.’”
“They also really liked hearing what the police officer was wearing and seeing where Nitro sits in the car,” Korver added. “After officer Miller left, the children all pretended to be police officers. Every single child was pretending to be an officer on the playground afterward.” She also said that whenever the children saw a police car while walking to the park, the children would ask if that was Officer Miller and his dog.
During the demonstration children had the opportunity to ask questions and make comments, including, “Where does the dog sleep?” and after seeing Miller’s baton one said, “That looks like my light saber!”