PALM SPRINGS, Fla.-- Summer reading at Palm Springs Elementary School includes a break for a different lesson.
"I'm here because I want to keep you guys safe, Officer Dane Pena says to a classroom. The Palm Beach County School police officer wants to be a friend.
"It is important because a lot of students view police officers as a bad thing," he says.
Think of Pena as a teacher, with a badge.
"Who do you communicate with first?" he asks a student. The response: "Police."
"If there is an emergency the police can be there and we'd all be safe," says third-grade student Michael.
Pena wants communication, location and safety to be second nature. "For them to remain calm and know what they need to do under those circumstances."
He adds: "Location is not just where they are , but where a safe location is."
The veteran officer once worked as a New York City policeman. He likes this better..
"Is this the favorite beat you ever walked?" he's asked. His answer: "Yes it is. Yes it is."
He says the kids look up to him and when they talk he gets a sense they are paying a lot of attention.
"So when you say something, you better make sure you are saying something to help them," he says.