Officer Friendly is a model program to acquaint children and young adults with law enforcement officials as a part of a community relations campaign. The program was especially popular in the United States from the 1960s to the 1980s, but it continues in some police departments. Officer Friendly is generally not a specific character, and is in the public domain.
In 1974, Sears-Roebuck Foundation partnered with John H. Coleman, Jr with the Hampton, Virginia police department and Hampton City school to revise the program.
Classroom kits were developed including coloring books, videos, board game and teaching guides with activities. The classroom kits were distributed to 40 school districts throughout the United States. An original copy of the kit can be found at the Hampton, Virginia City Museum.
The Officer Friendly programs most famously involved police officers visiting pre-school and kindergarten classrooms. In many parts of the United States, Officer Friendly coloring books are distributed to children.
In popular culture
There have been many parodies of the nearly ubiquitous program. In many cases, the term "Officer Friendly" is used sarcastically to refer to an abusive police officer.
- Twisted Issues, an underground movie, features a song by a punk rock band called Officer Friendly, although not on the soundtrack that was sold separately.
- Ben Folds Five mentions Officer Friendly in their song, "Underground".
- Leftover Crack mentions Officer Friendly in their song, "Crack City Rockers".
- Sir Mix-A-Lot mentions Officer Friendly in his song, "One Time's Got No Case".
- The Tossers mention Officer Friendly in their song, "Altercations".
- SCTV performed a parody skit called "Officer Friendly" November 28, 1977.
- Rick Grimes, a former Sheriff's Deputy in The Walking Dead, sarcastically introduced himself to Merle Dixon as Officer Friendly, while handcuffing him [in Season 1, episode 2 ("Guts")], and Merle thereafter referred to him that way, derisively [e.g., in Season 3, episode 15 ("This Sorrowful Life").
- Officer Friendly back in action ChicagoBreakingNews.com article
- Hampton's Officer Friendly coloring book
- "Debunking the Myth of Officer Friendly: How African American Males Experience Community Policing". Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice. 16: 209–229. May 2000. doi:10.1177/1043986200016002006.
- "EPISODES: AIRDATES, Global 1977-1978: Series 1b - Second City Television". SCTV Guide.