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Irene Gallegos lunches with troopers
by Kenda Nelson
Feb 17, 2012 | 507 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Irene Gallegos lunches with two DPS troopers and Ron Lucich, owner of Tejas BBQ.
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REFUGIO — Irene Gallegos, a Refugio High School junior, said text messages inundated her phone as she left school Monday with two DPS troopers.

“Am I allowed to sit in the front seat?” she asked.

“Sure,” said Trooper Carl Currie. “We don’t have cages in our vehicles.”

Ron Lucich, owner of Tejas BBQ and sponsor of the Lunch With a Badge Program, believes the curiosity from the other students is even more reason to continue the program.

A letter from Lucich’s daughter Colleen, who graduated in 2011 and is currently at boot camp, confirmed his resolve to continue the program.

“I love your idea about eating lunch with a cop; it’s going to benefit a lot of kids since so many of them have been brought up to think that cops are horrible people and that they should stay away from them,” Colleen wrote.

“Can you believe that?” Lucich asked the troopers.

Lucich was aghast to think kids may harbor negative views of law enforcement officers.

“They are the people here to protect them,” Lucich said.

Trooper Currie said he understands the kids’ feelings.

“They don’t always see us except in bad interaction,” Currie said. “We don’t stop people to tell them, ‘Oh, you’re doing a great job.’”

Trooper Andrew Smith said he wants to get a chance to know more kids.

“Too many are scared when they see a peace officer,” Smith said.

As for Gallegos, she’s looking forward to softball season. The Lady Cat plays outfielder and second base.
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