Justice was preserved at Forest Lake Elementary School in Wantagh on Oct. 30 as the Nassau County Police Department brought a little… backup.
Students lined up outside and awaited the arrival of the heroes they were promised. The police did indeed show up, however they had brought some well-known reinforcements.
Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder played emcee and introduced the arrival of the superheroes with great gusto. Ryder and Nassau County Executive Laura Curran introduced officers dressed as today’s most recognizable superheroes as they leapt from the back of armored SWAT trucks to greet the awaiting fans. One-by-one, officers dressed as Batman, Superman, Black Panther, Spiderman, Captain America, Wonder Woman, Flash, Chewbacca, and Miles Morales emerged and gave high-fives to the students.
Batman stomped around with intention. Superman greeted each child with a smile. Spiderman hopped out of the truck and landed in a crouch and then did a somersault towards the crowd. The kids responded with an intense interest as each new hero appeared.
“This is a great opportunity for our kids to see the real heroes,” said Forest Lake Principal Jessica Zimmer. “The real heroes are our police.”
Ryder clutched the microphone and belted out a question that received a unanimous response.
“Is this better than being in class?” Ryder asked. Students responded with an overwhelming “yes.”
Ryder also doubled the fun pre-Halloween event with a few important lessons. Keeping his energy high for the kids to match, Ryder quickly rolled through some integral points such as not talking to strangers and saying no to drugs.
“It’s all about community relations, we are one with the community,” Ryder said as the event neared its end. “It is super important that we deliver positive messaging such as drug prevention, and that comes through different messaging systems in the community.”
Ryder then referred to the police’s anti-drugs messaging campaign throughout youth sports and activities, such as “strike out drugs” in the community’s Little League.
Police Sergeant Tom Ianucci played the role of Spiderman for the Forest Lake students on the cloudy morning. Iannucci brought a real enthusiastic energy to entertaining the students. He also bought all of the costumes for his unit to wear during the event.
As the heroes lined up together, Ryder encouraged students to remember to thank their teachers and superintendents, and acknowledged the work of his Motorcycle Unit, Community Affairs Unit and officers at the event that helped keep it safe and fun for the students.
“I think the kids had a great time and it was super exciting,” said Forest Lake counselor Donna Shulman. “The kids definitely enjoyed it.”