Officers escort school students following Conn. tragedy

    7:31 PM, Jan 8, 2013   |    comments
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    NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - With thousands of students returning to school on Tuesday, North Little Rock Police officers wanted to ensure that they felt safe. This comes after some families are on edge following the Connecticut school shooting in December.

    On Tuesday, eight officers surprised the Robinson's at Indian Hills Elementary.

    "If we can get 10, it will be better," laughed Robinson.

    The officer behind these police escorts is Detective Michael Gibbons. It's the first time this many officers came together for a back-to-school greeting, but there's a reason. It was sparked after an encounter with a 6-year-old girl over Christmas while Gibbons worked security at store.

    "So I went up to her and asked her if she was ready for Santa Claus and if she was ready for Christmas. She looked at me dead in the eye and asks me if I would come to my school and make sure her friends are safe so the mean man wouldn't come and shoot her. Obviously, it kept everything I had from breaking down and crying," said Gibbons.

    The mean man is the Newtown, Conn. school shooter. Knowing how bad the news reports impacted this girl, Gibbons said he would protect her and he asked other officers to help.

    "I'm glad people get to see there's another side of us. It's not about putting people in jail, but being here for the community and most importantly being here for the kids," said Gibbons.

    Families like Robinson's are seeing and hearing that message loud and clear.

    "With them being here, she [Robinson's daughter] feels safer now," said Robinson.

    Gibbons said all of the police involved Tuesday volunteered their time to greet students as they arrived at school.

    Follow Pam on twitter: @pbaccam.  

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