Students, teachers, and staff of Emmanuel Lutheran School recently sent a sweet care package to the Mankato Department of Public Safety, thanking their school resource officer and the department as a whole for keeping them safe.

Mankato Department of Public Safety Director Todd Miller.

Director Todd Miller said the box included candy and a heartwarming note that read, “Lifesavers because of the times that they have saved lives, 100 Grand bars because we don’t do this job for the money, Hershey’s Kisses to show love, gum to help people stick together, Tootsie Rolls because you have to roll with the punches, Peppermint Patties to help you keep for cool, Snickers so that you have a sense of humor, and Mounds for the mounds of courage that they have.”

Emmanuel Lutheran School students, staff, and teachers included this note in a care package filled with candies.

The programs in Mankato schools are part of the department’s overall community policing effort and Miller explained, “We want them to know an officer, to trust an officer, to know that officer’s there to help you, that they’re not your enemy, that they’re not a bad person and that’s how you build a relationship. By contact.”

Mankato Police Officer Jesse Gilbertson also serves as school resource officer at Emmanuel Lutheran School.

The community policing program dedicates specific officers to neighborhoods in the city on a permanent basis and Miller said it also helps encourage people to report suspicious activity, improves communication between residents and police, and gives people a clearer understanding of what officers do daily.

In addition to forming relationships with the students, Emmanuel Lutheran’s resource Officer Jesse Gilbertson said he also helped improve the school’s active shooter and overall emergency preparedness plan. “Before they had an unlocked front door, they had a lot of glass windows and doors,” he said, “And kind of working with them about securing the school a little bit better.”

Also included in the care package were individual notes from students.

Gilbertson recently talked with Emmanuel Lutheran students about the dangers and complexity of social media and said the one part of that discussion took them by surprise was, “Things on SnapChat, Facebook, they can all be recoverable by us. I think they assumed that anything they post on there if they delete it it’s gone forever. Like I told them, once you send that out, it’s out there.”