It's not too often that 8-year-old Siddhu Gurumurthi is happy about a trip to the mall.
"He's a boy — he doesn't like shopping," said his mom, Gayathri.
But on Sunday, the Buffalo Grove residents got to experience the 8th Annual Law Enforcement Exhibition at the Westfield Hawthorn Mall. The event was hosted by the Vernon Hills Police Department.
"This is the first time he's actually excited about coming to the mall," said Gayathri as she watched her son ride around on a small, four-wheeled bicycle at the Des Plaines Police Department booth.
The two-day expo featured a number of activities for all ages, including K9 demonstrations, a helicopter landing, a 911 simulator and a thermal imaging camera. Several local law enforcement agencies had booths at the expo, where police officers interacted with shoppers and handed out information. There were also lots of goodies for children, like the coloring books, stickers and bracelets at the Grayslake Police Department booth.
"We don't want kids to be afraid of the police," said Sgt. Guy Fiasche.
"All too often, kids are scared of the police," said Sam Shulman, a volunteer at the Buffalo Grove Police Department booth. The expo, he said, gave police departments the opportunity to promote "officer friendly."
He enjoyed "being able to educate the community to what the police department can assist the community with." Shulman not only handed out items like pencils and stickers but also information sheets that people can place on their refrigerators for police to see if called to their homes.
Fiasche added that people stopped at the Grayslake Police Department booth to ask about the Explorer program and job opportunities.