Officer trading cards are a hit with students
31 Aug 2023 — The Inter-Mountain
Edgar Kelley

ELKINS - The Randolph County Sheriff's Office has been making an effort to bond with area youth and it has seemingly hit a home run with its latest endeavor.

As a way to make a connection with area grade school students, the Sheriff's Office has recently designed trading cards, which deputies are handing out to children at schools and other events.

The idea was pitched to Sheriff Rob Elbon by Deputy Rocky Hebb, who is one of three Prevention Resource Officers in the county. Hebb and fellow PRO Deputies Daniel Pennington and Ethan Carr have been visiting local grade schools and handing out the cards, which are similar to a typical sports trading card.

"They look really cool and the kids absolutely love them," Hebb told The Inter-Mountain. "We are trying to focus on the grade school kids and we have been going into the schools and handing them out. We are trying to get the kids to know the entire department, so we have been giving kids cards from all of our officers with the Sheriff's Office."

There are currently 18 cards featuring deputies and if a student collects the entire set, they will be awarded a prize.

"It's a great way to gain a positive relationship with the entire department," Hebb said. "It's also another way to make the kids not be afraid of interacting with us. It's all about building relationships with the kids in the county."

Hebb visited Midland Elementary School and handed out cards Wednesday morning. While there he made a stop at Trenna Robinson's fifth-grade class.

"I have a lot of kids that are scared of police officers and this has been a great way to show them that they are here just to keep everyone safe," said Robinson. "Giving the kids these cards will get them going up to the officers. It will show  them that they are safe people, nice people to go to. The kids really love seeing the officers when they show up for a visit."

Elbon said building good relationships with students is something the Sheriff's Office is always striving to do.

"Doing the cards gives us a chance to individually talk with the kids, " Elbon told The Inter-Mountain. "Because when they come up and ask for the cards, we will joke around with them and tell them they have to dance or floss, or do something like that to get a card. It's a cool way to interact with kids."

The cards have been so popular that some students have actually stopped by the Sheriff's Office to try and get some of the cards that they don't already have. Elbon said he and some of his deputies were handing cards out left and right at a sporting event last week.

"I was at the football game the other night at Elkins High School with several deputies and we had all kinds of kids coming up to us asking for cards," he said. "We had to go back to our cars a few times and get more because we handed so many out. The kids are pretty excited about it."

Hebb said he has also been overwhelmed with requests for the cards, which feature a photo of an officer on the front and information on the back.

"The kids have really been eating these cards up, they love them," Hebb said. "It's like collecting baseball cards - they have our photos on the front and on the back they have statistics about us."

This is the first year the RCSO has produced the cards, but Elbon said it may be something that continues into the future.

"We will see how it goes this year and if it continues to be as popular as it is now, we will try to possibly do it every year," said Elbon. "Twix, the Sheriff Office's K-9 officer, even has a card with his photo and some information on the back. The kids really seem to like Twix's card - he is getting the most requests right now."

Members of the Randolph County Sheriff's Office plan to continue to visit area grade schools and distribute the cards to students throughout the school year.

This story is provided free courtesy of The Inter-Mountain.
"Officer trading cards are a hit with students" The Inter-Mountain 31 Aug 2023: A1