Selma Police Department Kicks Off PEARL Program


By George McDonald

From the West Alabama Newsroom--  A new crime prevention initiative by Selma Police is using reading, writing, arithmetic -- and pizza -- to help promote learning and to help fight crime.

The initiative is called the PEARL program -- which stands for Police Encouraging Academics, Reading & Learning.

In the program a police officer visits a school each month to encourage reading and engage students in academic activities.

The class that reads the most books -- or achieves significant academic success each month -- gets a police department sponsored pizza party at the end of the month. The principal and teachers decide which class gets the party.

Officer Nathan Gibson is the community-area police officer for Clark School.

"We, the police, want the children to know that we're here as their friends not the enemy. We want to help nurture them to help them grow to be more productive citizens of Selma," said Gibson.

Riley says the program is part of his department's community policing initiative.

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