There may have been a few bumps in the road, but Franklin’s first Safety Town appears to be a success. So much so that additional classes are being considered.
This week, 22 incoming kindergarten students attended the week-long event at Franklin Junior High School where they learned about being aware about strangers, pedestrian, school bus, and bike safety and what to do if they come across a gun.
The half-day sessions also included learning more about fire safety and checking the equipment on city fire trucks, watching a firefighter put on his protective gear, and climbing inside a fire truck. They also learned more about how 911 works and when to use it and watched a demonstration by Colt, the city’s police canine.
The students also drove their pedal cars over a mat with buildings and a traffic light complete with a pedestrian signal.
Dispatcher Lindsay Alvarez and School Resource Officer Amanda Myers organized the program and were assisted by several other officers, the Warren County Sheriff’s Office and student volunteers from the high school, said police Chief Russ Whitman. Franklin police partnered with the Franklin City Schools, Warren County Educational Service Center, and the Warren County Sheriff’s Office to put on the program.
In addition to what they were learning hands-on, Warren County Sheriff’s Deputy Kelly McKay prepared an identification card for each child that contained a photo, a fingerprint and other information such as height, weight and the color of their hair and eyes. McKay said the card is useful should the child go missing and it gives police a quick description and photo to use.
“It’s been great,” Whitman said. “I’m very pleased on how it went.”
Alvarez said community interest grew each day after she posted photos on their social media page with some parents asking about the next class. Because of the interest generated, Whitman said they are considering adding a session for older students ages 6-10 and for students with special needs.
Some of the students shared their thoughts about the program.
Max Carter said he “had a lot of fun riding the pedal cars and coloring, rating the week as a ‘10.’”
“It was cool driving the pedal cars was the most favorite thing to do here,” said Greyson Zehring. “Police officers are cool.”
Kennedy Carmack said she had a good time and liked the pedal cars and seeing the police canine.
Her mother, Carly Carmack, said her daughter cried because she didn’t want Safety Town to end.
Myers, the SRO for the Franklin City Schools, said the week went very well.
“We had a lot of fun with the kids and they learned a lot on being safe,” she said. “I think it was good meeting with the kids early and I hope to get around to all of the elementary and high schools this year.”
Myers said she hopes to have a good relationship over the coming years with the students.
“It (Safety Town) will help kids know and trust us instead of fearing us or fearing that they’re in trouble when they see us,” she said.
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