Thursday, May 1, a Summit County canine police officer was sitting outside Parley's Park Elementary School. The German shepherd sat calmly with its tongue hanging out to keep itself cool in the warm spring weather as a young boy posed for a picture with it. The boy pet the dog that awaited orders to hop in the car and head back to the station as the boy ran smiling to see the picture his father took.

Summit County Police officers, including those of the canine variety, were at Parley's Park to accept donations from the students in the Kinder Connections program. The students donated an array of children's items they felt would keep children like themselves from being afraid while at the Summit County Sheriff's Office.

"They think it's a scary place, and it makes them nervous," said Summit County Deputy Sheriff Justin Martinez. "The kids donated a bunch of toys, stuffed animals and games so that when children end up at the Sheriff's office waiting for mom and dad maybe to be questioned, they won't feel intimidated or scared."

Alison Taylor, the Community Education secretary, said the Kinder Connections program at each elementary school in the Park City School District participate in at least one community service project every year. The teachers help make the determination, and in the case of Parley's Park, that teacher is Jamie Watt.

School resource officer, Summit County Detective Kacey Bates, said she told the students to bring in items they would enjoy if they had to sit in the Sheriff's office and wait for their parents.


"I said, 'I want you to bring things you would want to play with, because these kids are just like you,'" she said. "There is such an array of things they can choose from that every child would be happy to play with."

Martinez said most people might not think the Sheriff's office is an environment conducive to children, but with the donations from the Kinder Connections students, the Sheriff's office doesn't have to be a scary place.

"We're grateful the kids donated all these great children's items that will give the kids that have to stop by the office something to do," he said. "They might not even be scared. It could just preoccupy them while we're interviewing their parents and help make our office more open and welcoming to the children that have to come in."