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Officer reads to McParland students
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Officer Mike Kelly demonstrated his drug dog Rustys keen nose for drugs after the afternoon story was read. - photo by GLENN KAHL

The late afternoon story time was all about “Officer Buckle and Gloria.”

Manteca Police detective Steve Schluer and drug canine officer Mike Kelly made a visit to the McParland School Annex on London Avenue Thursday to talk about “safety” to three classes of second graders.

It is sometimes a challenge to hold the attention of such young students late in their day as the fictitious “Officer Buckle” quickly learned as was pointed out in the children’s book of the same name.  “Gloria” had her own talent in pointing out safety tips to youngsters.

Schluer was at the Manteca school to read the safety book about the officer and his dog Gloria to the children.  Having already read the book, he knew he had to bring along a dog,  so he urged drug canine officer Mike Kelly to drive his police car onto the school grounds with his partner “Rusty” in the back seat.

They both definitely got the attention of the second graders.  Detective Schluer sat on the concrete steps of an outdoor stage as Officer Kelly stood at the side. “Rusty” let out an occasional bark from the police car.   The children sat on the ground looking up at the officer wearing his vest, handcuffs and gun at his side.

When Schluer finished making his remarks about safety from the story’s town of Napville, he introduced Kelly, who in turn brought “Rusty” from the patrol car.  Drugs had been hidden earlier in a trash dumpster and the canine was told to find them.  He ran from the stage and around one dumpster and then another as the children sat perfectly still and watching his playful but serious romping.

After the dog had found the drugs, his interest returned immediately to his green training ball and showing he wanted to play.

The young students were from the classes of Debbie Brown, Carina Armstrong and Melanie Silva.

The story book was being used as a part of the district-wide safety curriculum for second graders throughout the many schools in the greater Manteca and Lathrop areas this past week.