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Patrol Cards: Police give out trading cards to kids in community

Platteville Police say the cards lead to positive interactions with area youth.
Updated: Jun. 17, 2021 at 5:15 PM CDT
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PLATTEVILLE, Wis. (WMTV) - A resurgence in the popularity of sports cards has made its way to area police departments.

Last summer, Nate Forrest spent time going through his sports trading card collection.

“I noticed I had a lot of cards laying around,” said Forrest. “Like a lot of people my age, when the pandemic started, we went through our old baseball cards and that kind of spurred the market.”

Forrest, who is a part-time police officer, decided to pack up some of his cards and hand them out to kids while on patrol.

“They love it,” said Forrest. “It’s just a great way of creating that positive interaction where there is no enforcement to be had. You’re just really getting to know your community a bit better.”

After the first few rounds of handing out cards, Forrest was able to connect with area card breakers, groups of card enthusiasts who divide up boxes of cards among collectors. These groups typically have plenty of unused cards that they might donate to local schools or libraries.

Forrest decided to reach out to area police departments to see if they would be interested in handing them out too.

“It’s incredibly important that police make that effort to get out of the squad car and interact with the kids,” he said.

Forrest also works as a professor at UW-Platteville, where he teaches classes on policing in the Criminal Justice Department.

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“Every pack of cards is positive police contact that can be had,” said Forrest. “Seeing how the kids love it so much, it can take an officer’s bad day and brighten it up a little bit.”

This week, Forrest gave the Platteville Police Department a box of cards. Within a few days, officers have already handed out several packs.

Lt. Josh Grabandt says trading sports cards is a simple thing that can have a big impact.

“Every card that we give out is a chance to interact with the kids in the community,” said Grabandt. “It’s really awesome to break down those barriers that you know sometimes exist within the community.”

Forrest wants to keep the patrol card project going and donate cards to other departments.

Any law enforcement agency interested in receiving a box of cards can connect with Forrest via his email, forrestn@uwplatt.edu.

Forrest is looking for donations of any card packing supplies, like boxes or sleeves.

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