The La Verne Police Officers Association's "Walk With A Cop" event Saturday is a journey to understanding and friendship, not a walk- or jogathon.

The 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. program at Bonita High School's Glenn Davis Stadium is an event police, school and other officials hope will give local elementary schoolchildren the chance to learn more about civic history and make special connections with cops.

Each child who registers by Wednesday is guaranteed a goodie bag of items donated by local merchants and the association. Children may also simply check in at 8:30 a.m. the day of the event.

The $25-per-family fee benefits the association's community and charitable projects for needy families and children and contributions go to Fallen Angels, a nonprofit program that helps poor families pay funeral costs for babies. Checks should be payable to LVPOA and sent to the Police Department at 2061 Third St., La Verne, CA 91750. Additional information: 909-964-0422.

Walk With A Cop evolved from a brainstorming session in which Sgt. Dave Mortazavi, the police officers association president; Andrew McKindley; La Verne's school resource officer; Councilwoman Donna Redman and Mayor Don Kendrick; Julia Wheeler and Crystal Gonzalez of the University of La Verne and youth advocate Carrin Bouchard, past president of the La Verne-San Dimas Educational Foundation, explored ways to link youth and law enforcement.

Mortazavi and Kendrick said it's never too early to build positive relationships between law-enforcement agents and residents. They want children to know policemen and policewomen aren't their adversaries.

"We hope this builds relationships so kids aren't afraid of cops and realize cops are their friends," Kendrick said. "It's a hands-on, grassroots effort to let children in our community know the positive things our officers do to keep them safe.. "

Mortazavi , who served with the Los Angeles Unified School District Police Department for two years before joining the La Verne force 13 years ago, said that to his knowledge, few, if any, other police departments have a program like Walk With A Cop. The police officers association connects with local families in crisis and low-income families through its annual delivery of holiday food baskets and donations to participants in youth sports groups, Girl Scouts and the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life.

Municipal, police and university supporters wanted an educational element in the program, so there will be photographs and information on the history of the department.

Children will be able to talk with patrol officers, detectives and members of the Foothill Special Enforcement Team, Police Chief Scott Pickwith, Capt. Nick Paz, chaplain Kevin Yriarte and members of the Retired Senior Volunteer Patrol. They can meet K-9 Cpl. Josh Wells and his black Labrador partner ,Maverick; climb into patrol cars and on a police motorcycle; view the mobile Command Center and test their physical agility on an obstacle course. They can take photos in a portable jail for a $2 fee, which also benefits the association's community programs. There'll be a disc jockey and food.