DCW50 Heroes: Deputies making a difference in the classroom

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CAPITOL HEIGHTS, Md. -- Deputies in Prince George’s County have teamed up with Prince George’s County Schools to bridge the gap between law enforcement and the community.

Dozens of students at Walker Mill Middle School, are cadets in the Sheriff’s Positive Deputies Assisting Youth (DAY) Mentoring Program.

“It helped me grow and it helped me feel more comfortable with people around me,” said an eighth grader at Walker Mill.

“Before I started this program last year, I was really irresponsible, really shy, didn’t care about stuff, but this year, I’ve been more responsible, more confident,” expressed another eighth grader.

Sergeant Rick Johnson is one of several deputies that spends time in ten Prince George’s County middle schools.

Johnson said the relationships deputies are building with students are invaluable.

“We are showing them that we are human, we care for you just like your mother and father would, whatever help you need, we are here to give it to you,” Sergeant Johnson explained.

Thursday, Schools CEO Dr. Kevin Maxwell and Prince George’s County Sheriff Melvin High, signed a memo, making Positive Day a formal partnership between schools and local law enforcement.

“This kind of relationship is truly important to the success of our children,” Dr. Maxwell told DCW50.

Walker Mill 8th graders that will soon graduate from the program said they have one way to describe their mentor, Sergeant Johnson.

“He’s a hero because he’s taking people who were no where and brought them somewhere,” expressed an eighth grade cadet.

Sheriff High said he hopes to be able to receive grants to expand the program to more county schools and continue the program through the summer months.