“Shape up or I’ll call the cops!”

Posted By: Sarah Fili

sfili@klkntv.com

In a photo that’s gone viral, a police department across the ocean has a simple message for parents: stop telling your kids we’ll lock them up for bad behavior.

Here in the capital city, Lincoln Police say they hear it all too often.

"My experience, I’ve been at events or been on calls for service where parents have made that statement, you know ‘do this or that officer is going to take you to jail’ and I always try to tell parents that’s not acceptable,” Officer Matt Stegman, Lincoln Police, said.

They say you’re sending a deeper message by telling your children the cops will pick them up for leaving the green beans untouched at the dinner table.

"Someday your child may be a victim of a crime or someday your child may need a police officers assistance and they’re taught from a very young age that police aren’t here to help you they’re here to basically do bad things to you that you don’t like,” Officer Stegman said.

Officers in Lincoln say they know parents don’t mean any harm by saying it, but in today’s tense environment, cops don’t want to be seen as the bad guy. They say a positive image starts with adults, and trickles down to younger generations.

"If you start a child out at a young age thinking that, that only grows into anger or distrust over the years and that’s not something we want to deal with or a child should have top deal with,” Officer Stegman said.

LPD says the best message to send kids is that officers are there to help.

Lincoln Police also say they work very hard to be engaged in the community.

As a matter of fact, they’re holding a catch a cop fun run for kids next month.

The Lincoln Police Department’s Wellness Committee is hosting the 2nd Annual LPD Kid’s Catch-A-Cop Fun Run and 5k Foot Pursuit on Saturday, September 24th at Mahoney Park at 9:00 a.m. 

Click here to learn more: http://www.lincoln.ne.gov/city/police/events.htm