Rochester, N.Y. - Officer Cindi Muratore has been with Rochester Police for eleven years.
She's seen the good, the bad, and the ugly with kids stuck in the middle.
“Sometimes I get kind of scared. I just get frightened,” 13-year-old Myasia Wilson said. “I don't know why, it's just they’re police and I get frightened.”
“We're trying to bridge that gap between always having to be the bad guy, Officer Cindi Muratore with the Rochester Police Department said.
“These kids are in some awful situations, especially when we come across, police are called in difficult situations,” said Sgt. Justin Collins with RPD.
Police are hoping to change the community’s perception of them - one toy at a time.
“It's really crucial to build these bridges now so that when they grow up, there's some connection with the police department,” Sgt. Collins said.
Making a connection with Toys On Patrol.
It’s a program where officers hand out toys to comfort children.
It’s also about being a familiar face, taking time to interact with kids on the streets.
“I got a ton of hugs and that's a good feeling when they want to give you a hug and say remember me? You helped me there,” Muratore said.
So far, it seems to be working.
“I think that was very nice and polite of her to come up here and I think she should do it more often,” Wilson said.
The program has been in place for a year.
More than 3,000 toys have been delivered.