Beavercreek police resurrect child safety program

Beavercreek police worked with Beavercreek schools to restart a child safety program. The new version is called Safety Town. CONTRIBUTED
Beavercreek police worked with Beavercreek schools to restart a child safety program. The new version is called Safety Town. CONTRIBUTED

After a nearly two-decade absence, Beavercreek’s police department has brought back a youth safety program for children entering kindergarten and first grade.

The new “Safety Town” is a week-long interactive and educational experience for those ages 4 to 6 years old.

What used to be known as “Safety City” in the mid 1990s was brought back after Beavercreek created a Community Engagement Officer position last year.

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“Having witnessed the success of this safety program years ago, it was our desire and a priority to bring it back,” Beavercreek Chief of Police Dennis Evers said. “Our police department mission is ‘working in partnership with the community,’ and we felt bringing back this program gave us an opportunity to reach a very vulnerable age group … as they prepare to enter the school system.”

Beavercreek police officers and guest speakers provide age-appropriate instruction in topics including traffic safety, pedestrian and bike safety, fire safety, poison prevention, stranger awareness, internet safety, school and bus safety, 911 usage, emergency preparedness and gun safety.

“This program increases that awareness for the children and the parents. We hope attending this training not only educates the children about safety but reduces the anxiety level of the children and their parents as the children start their school journey and the parents grapple with the emotions of sending their children off for their first day of school,” said Evers.

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The students are also able to put their new safety knowledge to the test in a miniature town where they can drive around the streets and walk along the sidewalks.

Safety Town was held in two sessions this summer: June 17-June 21 and June 24-28 from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m. Each week ends with a graduation that starts at 10:45 a.m. on the Friday of that week.

Ninety-six children took part in Safety Town this year.

Beavercreek City Schools partnered with the Beavercreek Police Department to make the program happen. Other sponsors included Tobias Funeral Homes, Berkshire Hathaway, Main Elementary PTO, Kettering Health Network, Ritters and Milanos.

“Our goal is to raise funds through donations to look at a permanent Safety Town village in the future,” said Evers. “We are committed to exploring ways to partner with the community, including our schools, to increase safety awareness with the goal to keep our children safe.”

The program will now run annually in the summer, and information on the dates of next summer’s sessions and how to register will be updated on the Beavercreek police website in early 2020.