washington mckinley mascot with a cop

CHICAGO HEIGHTS, IL — Chicago Heights 170's Washington-McKinley School recently hosted their first Community Helpers Day featuring members of the Chicago Heights Police and Fire Departments.

CHPD officer Phillip Espinoza and CHFD Paramedic Xavier Beltran made various presentations of interest to the students.

Officer Espinoza is a 15-year law enforcement veteran who began his career as a police cadet at age 21. He has been an officer with the City of Chicago Heights for four years and assumed the role of Crime Prevention Coordinator in March 2020. This position sees him work in partnership with tenants, landlords, and property owners to decrease the crime in rental properties.

Firefighter paramedic Beltran's career in fire service spans 12 years, with eight of those years being at Chicago Heights Fire Department.

Some primary grade students participated in the exercise in person, while others participated via the Zoom conferencing platform.

“The Community Helpers Day was a perfect fit with our curriculum as we just finished a Social Studies unit on community helpers,” said second-grade teacher Jacquelyn Hermes.

The students were thoroughly engaged throughout the activity and were especially excited to take a virtual tour of the Chicago Height Fire Department and to have a chance to meet “Super Pup” of the Chicago Heights Police Department. As the “Super Pup” character walked through the lunchroom, a primary student exclaimed, "It's community day!"

According to fifth-grade teacher Tricia Wells, who provided the information included in this release, the day was an essential exercise in students learning the importance of knowing when to call 911, fire safety procedures, and understanding that the police are your ally.