Huron police connecting with kids

HURON, Calif. (KFSN) -- A new effort is under way to combat crime in one Fresno County community. Members of the Huron Police Department are working to bridge the gap between officers and kids, as a way to keep them from joining gangs. And it all started with a challenge.

When Juan Gurrola became a police officer 12 years ago he never envisioned he'd spend his days patrolling, and running sprints with kids in his community.

Gurrola became friends with Jeremiah while out on a call in his neighborhood last month. At first, the 12-year-old avoided him all because of a misconception he had about police officers.

"Me and my friends always thought they let the gangsters go they would just talk to them," said Jeremiah. "Now I know it's not true, the cops are good around here have a good bond with the city of Huron."

That day, Jeremiah broke the ice by initiating a race, which he ended up losing. But from that moment on, officer Gurrola, and his partner made it a mission to take him under their wings.

"The last thing we want is the gangs to get a hold of him," said Gurrola. "Most of our gangsters are under the age of 18 majority 14 to 17 years old."

Over the past several weeks, they've formed a bond that's led to some fun in the patrol car, and a couple of field trips to the police department.

"Probably the best experience of the summer," said Jeremiah. "That was fun."

After graduating from college, Jeremiah plans on joining the marines and maybe even becoming an officer himself.

Gurrola added, "If we can change one life at a time I think we've done our job."

This effort is something the department is hoping to expand on in the future, by organizing sports camps for other children in the community. For now, Gurrola is satisfied with this connection he's made, and plans on making the most out of the time they get to spend together.

Copyright © 2019 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.