Edina Police Officer Mike Seeger was honored with a 2017 Connecting With Kids Leadership Award March 3, for his 16 years coordinating the Junior Police Program.
Through the program, more than 8,000 third-graders have had positive, face-to-face time with police officers.
“Officer Seeger is a passionate advocate for the importance of the Junior Police Program and the importance of kids having positive and caring adults investing in them and helping them understanding being a safe and positive member of their community,” Sgt. Brian Hubbard wrote in his nomination of Seeger.
The award from the Edina Community Foundation’s Connecting With Kids Program was one of six honors handed out a special breakfast at the Edina Country Club.
“I do it because I like doing it,” Seeger said of the Junior Police Program.
During his short acceptance speech, Seeger gave a nod to his father, Bob Seeger, who actually helped start the Junior Police Program in Edina.
“We thought it was a great program and it needed to stay in Edina, so we brought the program to Rotary 25 years ago and started it then,” Bob Seeger said.
The program now serves more than 600 students a year, a far cry from when Mike Seeger began as an Edina police officer 16 years ago.
“When I got started, it was only one school and it was run by one our Reserves,” Seeger said.
He revamped the program and worked to get it into schools. Now every second- or third-grader learns about safety issues such as stranger danger, cyberbullying and the importance of locking doors.
Officers visit each elementary school to make a presentation. They later return to meet with students individually, go over a Junior Police workbook and give them their badges.
“It’s the first time most of them have been in contact with a police officer,” Seeger said.