Reaching Out

Police, Firefighters Hold Safety Event At Park

Posted: April 26, 2014

Harrisonburg police officer Matt Ropp meets brothers Max (in car) and Conner Crews of Barboursville during a safety demonstration Friday at A Dream Come True Playground on Neff Avenue in Harrisonburg. The inaugural event, Safe Kids Day, was a collaborative effort among the Harrisonburg police and fire departments, Central Shenandoah Valley Safe Kids Coalition, Sentara RMH Medical Center and The Gus Bus. (Photos By Holly Marcus / Special To The DN-R)
Ariel Rodriguez, Harrisonburg Fire Department’s child safety seat technician, shows Amanda Bolt-Burtner of Penn Laird about a safety recall on her car seat during Friday’s Safe Kids Day event.
Britney Kerley, 4, of Mount Solon, shows off her new promotion as a junior officer for the Harrisonburg Police Department at the safety demonstrations the HPD and HFD were doing at A Dream Come True Playground on Friday.
Conner Crews, 3, of Barboursville, looks at a HFD helmet that is made of leather at the safety demonstrations the HFD and HPD were doing at A Dream Come True Playground on Friday.

HARRISONBURG — Instead of swinging on the swings at the Dream Come True Playground on Friday morning, 4-year-old Britney Kerley hopped into the front seat of a Harrisonburg police cruiser.

The Mount Solon child was already dreaming about keeping the community safe when she gets older.

“I want to be a cop,” said Britney, who went to the Harrisonburg park on Neff Avenue with her mother, Lorie Wilkins, 33.

Kerley and Wilkins were among dozens to participate in the inaugural Safe Kids Day — a collaborative effort among the Harrisonburg police and fire departments, Central Shenandoah Valley Safe Kids Coalition, Sentara RMH Medical Center and The Gus Bus.

HFD Lt. Wanda Willis said the event was to educate children and parents about safety, ranging from proper car seat installation to bicycle safety.

“We’re trying to prevent childhood injuries,” Willis said.

Amanda Bolt-Burtner, 36, took her daughter, Eliza Burtner, 2, to the park on Friday. While they were there, the mother had the child safety seat in her Subaru Forester checked to make sure it was installed properly.

“We saw the fire department was doing safety seat checks so we decided to get it checked, since we have a new car,” the Penn Laird resident said.

The children also had the opportunity to meet police officers.

“The main thing, with younger kids, is to let them know we’re approachable,” said Mike Gangloff, a DARE officer. “We’re here as community helpers.”

Contact Pete DeLea at 574-6278 or pdelea@dnronline.com



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