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VALLEY ROUNDUP | Chatsworth

10 5th-Graders Win LAPD Essay Contest

November 29, 2000|DAVID PIERSON

Writing has already paid off for 10 fifth-graders.

The essay contest winners from five elementary schools in the Los Angeles Police Department's Devonshire Division were rewarded Tuesday morning with prizes and a tour of the division's police station.

The students--two from each of the five schools--had written one-page essays describing why they appreciate police officers. The contest, now in its fifth year, was held in conjunction with Police Appreciation Day.

"When you have young kids expressing positive impressions, it serves well for us," said LAPD Capt. Jerry Szymanski, who gave each student a certificate of appreciation. "People tend to identify police in the worst situations. They only relate when they get a ticket or something. These [students] aren't jaded by life yet."

Katie Kirkpatrick of Knollwood Elementary won first place, earning a $100 bond from the Granada Hills Bank with an essay that thanked the department for its protection and its efforts to curb drug problems. She said she had contemplated becoming a police officer herself.

"My mom won't let me," she said. "She said it was a great job but she doesn't want any of her kids in danger."

Others getting monetary awards for their essays were Jacob Leon of Lassen Elementary, who received a $50 bond from the Granada Hills Woman's Club, and Ryan Merkle of the private Sierra Canyon Elementary, who received a $25 check from the organization Mad About Rising Crime.

Chase Street and Germain Street elementary schools also participated.

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