BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Hundreds of residents turned out for the annual Louisiana State Police Troop A Day Sunday afternoon.
State police troopers were joined by officers from law enforcement agencies from around the region, as well as a number of area emergency response crews. The agencies showed off state-of-the-art equipment and interacted with visitors.
Melinda Bellard and two her children were some of those visitors who had a chance to speak with the officers.
"Our local law enforcement is here to keep us safe, someone they can go to when they come to mom or dad and I just want them to know about the safety aspects of it all," said Bellard.
"We want to keep people safe and give them ideas to take home with them to keep them safe in their personal lives," said Trooper Jared Sandifer.
Sandifer added among those ideas is promoting awareness on Louisiana roadways. He said in August alone, state police worked 26 fatalities throughout Louisiana. Many of those deaths were a result of travelers not properly restrained.
"Unfortunately, we still do see a lot of fatal crashes and those can be prevented by people just putting seatbelts on, not drinking and driving and that's what we're out here to give that message," Sandifer explained.
Aside from sharing the general message of safety, many of these agencies just want to let residents know they are also there to help any way they can and the importance of developing trust is exactly what Bellard is hoping her kids will understand.
"They're not here to hurt us, they're here to protect us regardless of sometimes we hear negative things about our police officers but they're a major part of our lives, a major part of community and they're there to keep us safe," said Bellard.
"We want children at the start of a young age to know that police officers are people they can trust and come to if they need help and we also want to convey that message to the parents as well so they can turn around and teach their children," added Sandifer.