By Devin Bartolotta

BALTIMORE (WJZ)– Future Baltimore City Police officers are earning their badges with some unexpected backup.

Zippy Larson made a 35-year career out of showing tourists the best of Baltimore. Now she’s giving Baltimore City Police cadets an insider’s look at the city they’ll protect.

Larson, a Baltimore native and tour guide, decided she’d take 50 recruits on a bus tour of Baltimore’s hidden gems.

“There’s a real city here with real people and businesses that have been here for a couple hundred years,” she said. “We’re much more than what’s on the news.”

“I was able to really, kind of, feed off of her,” said Baltimore Police trainee Randolph Perrin. “So what she found interesting, I ended up finding interesting.”

With four stops, recruits got important lessons in architecture, history and trade.

“It was all new to me. The whole experience, from the beginning to the end,” said police trainee Najiyyah Mustafa. “It was all new. From the Pfefferkorn Coffee Factory to Ruckert’s terminal.”

“A lot of times, depending on where you’re assigned to, you may only get to know a neighborhood,” said Major James Rhoden of the Baltimore Police Training Academy. “So if we can give our recruits more experience with the whole city, then you make a better police officer.”

“When I go out at night alone, I always can find a police escort to get home safely,” Larson said.

Larson says she’s happy to give more tours to future classes of trainees–as long as she can get buses and lunch donated for the day.

Larson also recently graduated from Citizen’s Police Academy, a 15-week program held once a year.

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