Photo by Brandon Alms
Jasmine Bailey is spearheading community outreach initiatives for the Springfield Police Department, like SPD in PE with schools in Springfield, and keeping communication between the police and the public open—something that's more important now than ever.
On Tentatively Taking On Her Role
“I really wanted to be in Springfield; my family's in Joplin and Springfield is close to home and there's just a lot of energy here. My uncle used to work at the police department, he’s a retired lieutenant and knew that this position I'm in now was coming open. He encouraged me to apply […] I was a little apprehensive to work at a police department, [but] one of my mentors had said to me that it would be an opportunity for me to maybe change the narrative surrounding law enforcement.
“When I first moved into this position, I was working with our recruitment officer and he felt like we needed to do something to drive up recruitment numbers, but we didn't have any community engagement programs. I just got to thinking, ‘How can we, the police department, show our community love?’ I feel like kids are so receptive to that, and it made sense to me that we should be in the schools in the capacity of PE We started meeting with Springfield Public Schools and they liked it.”
On How SPD in PE Works
“I try to make it to where the same officers are going for each visit [...] there are four visits. The first one we just go and participate. On the second visit, we create a warm-up, we'll run the warm-up and then just participate in whatever the teacher sets up. The third visit we create the activity for the day. We’ll do the warm up with the kids, then we have QR codes that they can scan with their phones [with] different exercises that relate to being a police officer, because this is about building relationships with them, but also about showing kids that there are careers in law enforcement. The last one is all run by our officers. We bring a modified agility testing course, it's the test that people have to take to get into the police academy.
“It's just about bridging those gaps and lifting the veil. It's important to me, but it's important to our officers, too. They got into this field to make positive impacts, to protect and serve and to show love to their community. This is a way that they can do it.”