Through HMLC visit, police officers broaden cultural understanding

By Jennifer Rubin, Sophomore, Parkway Central

One of the hardest, but most important parts of being a police officer is the training. Officers learn and participate in activities that include physical training, continuing education, driving tests, role-play and target practice. To become an officer, a man or woman needs to be smart, in shape and dedicated. In Chesterfield, officers have an extra requirement: they visit the St. Louis Holocaust Museum.

Chesterfield police officer Bob Evans is among the officers who visited the museum.

“Visiting the Holocaust Museum before becoming a police officer in Chesterfield brings great awareness to officers about Chesterfield’s Jewish population,” Evans said. “It helps us be sensitive to the religion and the citizens.”

Evans is the School Resource Officer (SRO) at Parkway Central High School, which has a large Jewish population, “Visiting the Holocaust Museum prepared me in a way for working at Parkway Central. Now, I can relate to Jewish students and the difference in religions,” he said.

Emily Muchnick, a sophomore at Parkway Central, also has been to the Holocaust Museum.

“It is something that everyone should see, no matter what religion, because it is part of history and seeing it gives more understanding to how you treat others,” Emily said. “I think [someone who serves Chesterfield] should see it because it helps to treat everybody with the respect they deserve instead of judging by stereotypes.”

Chesterfield Police Officer Steve Borawski has also gone through this requirement.

“With the large population of people in Chesterfield who practice the Jewish religion, it is important for the officers to have a better understanding of the Holocaust and what Jews went through,” Borawski said. “There may be circumstances where the officer should be sensitive with what a Jewish person is feeling at a particular time period and the Holocaust Museum educates us on that.”

Professionals such as police officers who work together in the community have to be educated on different types of customs and rituals.

“The better the understanding of the history of the Holocaust, the better we can serve them,” said Borawski, who served the Jewish community this fall.

“I work security at United Hebrew Congregation during the High Holy days. I have learned what each of them is and what the Jewish people do during them. I find learning about other people’s religion very interesting,” he added.

A police officer is a very unpredictable and rewarding career, several said. Officers get to meet people, protect the community and save lives. In order to do this, officers have to be educated on the different types of people they serve and visiting the Holocaust Museum let’s them do this.

“Chesterfield police officers should know as much as they can, not only about the Jewish community, but about anyone who lives in their community,” Borawski said. “Training is an important part of being a good police officer and the Holocaust Museum is an important part of our training.”