LINCOLN (CBS13) – A police chief is trying to change the negative perceptions cops have faced over the past few years and one way, talking to parents.

“We want to show that we’re not just out there to enforce laws,” Lincoln Police Chief Doug Lee said.

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So he’s on a mission to make the police a little more popular.

“Every little thing that happens sort of erodes at the trust of public safety,” he said.

The chief is launching a new effort to initiate friendly encounters with kids.

“When an adult says, ‘You better behave, or an officer is going to take you to jail,’ and that’s not what we want,” Lee said.

Officer Travis Parson is among those trying to make positive community contacts.

“I would like them to think oh there’s a cop and wave at me. For me, that’s joy,” Parson said.

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His department is among those across the country that posted a PSA to social media encouraging parents not to threaten to call the cops as punishment.

It’s something some parents admit to doing.

“I’m not going to say we haven’t used that on something,” Bryan Estes said while playing ball with his kids.

The father of four doesn’t want his children to be afraid of officers.

“They’re there to help you, not to cause harm or anything like that,” Estes said.

The chief said it’s one of many ways he hopes to engage the community.

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“They just may picture us as being law enforcement officers 24-seven, people who write tickets and people who take people to jail. We want to make sure that they understand the other side of as well,” he said.