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Madison Safety Town holds Police Day as part of 2023 event – News-Herald | #schoolsaftey


Madison Village Police Department Patrol Officer Dwyane Redrick shows his cruiser to children during the Police Day held at Madison Safety Town on June 28. The event, which is a two-week safety awareness and education program for young children, is taking place this year from June 19-30 at South Elementary School in Madison Village. (Bill DeBus – The News-Herald)

Children who are attending this year’s Madison Safety Town program got a chance on June 28 to learn more about the vehicles and animals that police use while they work.

Police Day was the featured theme during the morning and afternoon sessions, taking place this year from June 19-30 at South Elementary School in Madison Village.

Madison Safety Town is a safety awareness program designed to teach young children how to prevent accidents and respond to dangerous situations.

During the two-week program, children ages 4 through 6 attend two-hour sessions held Monday through Friday, either from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. or 12:30 to 2:30 p.m.

Youngsters learn about topics such as how to be safe in their home or on a playground; bicycle and pedestrian safety; the importance of wearing seat belts; and what to do if approached a stranger.

Other subjects covered during the program include fire safety and water safety.

While police provide instruction in many of these areas, the June 28 session at Safety Town gave its youthful participants additional opportunities to visit with law enforcement officers.

Children also got a close-up look at the vehicles that police use to patrol their communities or respond to specific high-risk situations.

Madison Village Police Department brought several of its cruisers to the event, and invited students to view or sit inside the vehicles. Officers also complied with several requests by children to activate the cars’ lightbars and sirens.

Children also got to check out the interior of a vehicle used by the Lake County Sheriff’s Office Special Weapons and Tactics Team. The SWAT Team uses the vehicle when it is summoned for incidents such as barricaded subjects, hostage-taking situations, or executing high-risk search or arrest warrants.

Police Day also featured visits by two Lake County Sheriff’s deputies who use animals in performing some of their duties.

A Madison Safety Town instructor’s helper, in green shirt, and a child participating in the event, visit with K-9 Sado and his handler, Lake County Sheriff’s Deputy Shane Hopp, on June 28. Police Day was the featured theme during the morning and afternoon sessions of Madison Safety Town, which is taking place this year from June 19-30 at South Elementary School in Madison Village. The event is a safety awareness and education program for young children. (Bill DeBus – The News-Herald)

Deputy Shane Hopp brought along his partner K-9 Sado, a 2-year-old German shepherd.

Children also were introduced to Crossed Sabres, a horse from the Lake County Sheriff’s Office Mounted Unit who is owned by Deputy Taya Workum.

Crossed Sabres is a 12-year-old shire sporthorse, said Workum, who also is a trainer for the sheriff’s mounted unit.

Workum said she and the horse have visited many Safety Towns over the years.

Lake County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Taya Workum shows her horse, Crossed Sabres, to children during the Police Day held at Madison Safety Town on June 28. Workum and Crossed Sabres are members of the county Sheriff’s Office Mounted Unit. In addition, Workum serves as a trainer for the group. Safety Town, which is a safety awareness and education program for young children, is taking place this year from June 19-30 at South Elementary School in Madison Village. (Bill DeBus – The News-Herald)

“I like being able to share my horse with the kids,” she said. “A lot of times, the kids have never seen a horse before and have never gotten to touch or pet one. And I’m lucky to have a really good partner who loves to have the kids pet him.”

The officers, vehicles and animals who were featured at Police Day held activities outside at South Elementary in a parking lot adjacent to the Safety Town layout where children learn about and practice bicycle, pedestrian and traffic safety.

But inside the school, Madison Township Police Department Patrol Officer Ryan Shannon conducted a session for children on gun safety.

Madison Township Police Department Patrol Officer Ryan Shannon talks with children about gun safety during the morning session of Madison Safety Town on June 28. Police Day was the featured theme on June 28 during the morning and afternoon sessions of Madison Safety Town. The event, which is a safety awareness and education program for young children, is taking place this year from June 19-30 at South Elementary School in Madison Village. (Bill DeBus – The News-Herald)

Shannon worked with the kids at repeating and memorizing a phrase capsulizing how to respond if they find a gun that’s within their reach: “Stop, don’t touch, run away, tell a grownup.”

In addition, he advised the children that if they’re ever playing with a gun outdoors and are approached by a police officer, they should drop the gun immediately. He noted that some toy guns are designed to look strikingly similar to real firearms, and that could alarm neighbors or other passers-by.

“People do call police because they’re worried that you might be playing with the real gun,” he told Safety Town participants. “So if a police officer comes, you need to drop that gun immediately, because we don’t know if it’s a real, toy or fake gun. We’ll figure that out after the fact.”

Madison Safety Town was established in 1986 by the Madison Branch of the American Association of University Women. That group eventually was absorbed into the Northeast Ohio Branch of AAUW, and still sponsors Safety Town every year.

Carrie Svigel, who now serves as president of the Northeast Ohio Branch of AAUW, was one of two people who started Madison Safety Town in 1986. Although the other co-founder is no longer involved, Svigel got help in organizing and running the event from Laura Haynes, another local AAUW member, in 1987.

Svigel and Haines have been co-chairwomen of the event ever since.

“AAUW likes to do community things, so Laura and I have kept Madison Safety Town going,” Svigel said.

She added that it has succeeded thanks to the support of Madison School District, Madison Village and Township Police departments, Madison Fire District, and sponsors such as Behm Funeral Home, Here’s Hope Baptist Church and International Order of Odd Fellows Grand River No. 57.

Village Police Chief Troy McIntosh said the program is “great program for teaching kids general safety in many different areas.”

“A lot of different agencies come in and cooperate to make Madison Safety Town happen,” he said. “Fire departments and law enforcement from across the county. I really appreciate everybody that comes in to help out and it really means a lot to the kids.”



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