LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — An LAPD officer is showing that serving the community involves more than patrols and arrests.

LAPD Officer Heidi Stoecklein, an 11-year veteran on the force, has been awarded the State Officer of the Year award by the American Legion.

Stoecklein was leading children of the community through the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium  when she spoke with CBS2’s Stephanie Simmons.

“Today we’re here with the ‘Chance for Children’ Foundation, who has graciously provided the opportunity for LAPD youth and even homeless youth to come and see the aquarium and all the wonderful things about the ocean,” Officer Stoecklein said.

Officer Stoecklein considers community outreach to be one of the most important aspects of her job.

“It’s so important just to create that opportunity for children that wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to go to an aquarium or work alongside a police officer,” Stoecklein said.

The American Legion takes into consideration an officer’s ability and willingness to supersede expectations while in uniform, and Officer Stoecklein’s work with kids is nothing if not considerable.

“I also volunteer for the Special Olympics and the Best Day Foundation, which takes kids with special needs to have different experiences like kayaking or surfing,” Officer Stoecklein said. “And it’s an absolute joy to see that these kids experience things that I love, like surfing and being out by the ocean.”


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