Building trust between students and police at Fresno elementary school (FOX26)

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FRESNO, Calif. (FOX26, by Rich Rodriguez) — Students at John Muir Elementary are getting their bodies in shape for Support Blue Fresno Run in late February.

When they exercise on Tuesday’s, their conditioning coach wears a badge and carries a gun.

Sixth graders at Muir Elementary are preparing for the two-mile run next month.

Their conditioning coach is Fresno Police Resource Officer Lindsay Dozier.

It’s an assignment she took on three semesters ago to bridge the gap between students and officers.

“A lot of kids at first aren’t quite sure of us,” said Officer Dozier.” I’m sure a lot don’t trust us. Some will actually say they don’t trust us.”

Officer Dozier uses rewards and positive reinforcement to build trust. “Hey, good job you earned yourself a one-mile bracelet,” said Dozier.

The veteran police officer isn’t afraid to line up with the kids and run alongside them.

“Once they’re able to see the human side of us, not just the uniform, their perception of us changes drastically,” she said.

The ultimate goal is to be race-ready for the Support Blue Fresno Run February 29th.

“The kids last year are talking to these kids,” said Officer Dozier. ‘Hey you gotta go there’s a lot of people, there’s helicopters, there’s Crispy Creme donuts.'”

There’s now a bond with this unit that months ago didn’t exist. The kids slowly realizing they have a lot in common with a cop.

Fresno police resource officers don’t usually make weekly visits to elementary campuses.

The program is working so well, Officer Dozier got officers assigned to three other elementary schools.