Retired officer uses artwork to shed positive light on police

Retired GRPD officer Rick Schaafsma shows one of his "CopToons" coloring sheets that he illustrates. (Aug. 4, 2015)

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Now more than ever there’s a push to build positive relationships between at-risk youth and officers in communities across the country.

A retired Grand Rapids police officer is taking on that call with his artwork.

Rick Schaafsma served on the streets of Grand Rapids from the late 60s through the mid-90s.

He illustrates his “CopToons” coloring sheets with the hope that children will look at police officers in a positive light beginning at an early age.

“I always looked at it when I was a police officer: I may not be able to change a lot of things I may not be able to do a lot of things but I can chip away at it and make some improvements when I’m on my beat, when I interact with people,” said Schaafsma.

Schaafsma is working with Seeds of Promise, a non-profit with a mission to empower people to increase their prosperity through improving the neighborhoods they live in.

Seeds of Promise will be at the National Night Out event on Tuesday in Grand Rapids asking kids to color the CopToons coloring pages with GRPD community officers. They’ll be set up from 4-8 p.m. near the corner of Madison and Hall SE.

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