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Unqua Students Thank Law Enforcement Officers
Dozens of active and retired police officers visited Unqua Elementary School on Jan. 9 for the third annual Law Enforcement Appreciation Day.
Guests included officers from the Nassau County, Suffolk County, New York City, Port Authority and village police departments, as well as corrections officers and emergency medical technicians. Many of the officers were a relative of a student or staff member, while others responded to invitational fliers that were sent out to local precincts and through PTA email blasts.
Officers visited classrooms throughout the morning to talk about their job responsibilities, training and tools. Children met officers and dogs from canine units, and got to see members of the Nassau County Police Department’s Mounted Unit out front on their horses. The New York City Police Department Marching Band performed for the entire school, and the bomb squad visited fourth-grade classes with its robot and bomb-sniffing dog.
Students showed their appreciation in many ways including by wearing blue to school. The children decorated welcoming posters that were hung throughout the school and wrote thank-you cards and letters. Each officers received a gift bag filled with symbolic goodies such as a piece of caramel for helping others get out of sticky situations and mint patties to help them keep their cool.
Fifth-graders all gathered for a special presentation by Patrick Lynch, president of the New York City Police Benevolent Association, and several city officers. They honored the late Sgt. Barbara Sullivan, who passed away in June from a Sept. 11-related illness. Her son, Sean, who is in fifth-grade, and other family members of Sgt. Sullivan accepted a plaque with her shield. The officers also presented a large plaque in her honor for the school which featured a wood carving of a black-and-white American flag with one blue stripe, and replicas of Sgt. Sullivan’s shield and station patch.
“Law Enforcement Appreciation Day is designated to let law enforcement officials know that we recognize the importance of their jobs and that we appreciate all they do for our community,” said Assistant Principal Patricia Quinn-Hendry, who coordinated the program. “We wanted students to learn about the various jobs that the police do and to learn about them, ask questions and feel comfortable around them. We also wanted our youngsters to feel the positive impact they can have just by saying ‘thank you.’”