A lesson in safety

Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 29, 2005

Dozens of local children and their family and friends headed to Peanut Park Saturday afternoon. By the time they left, they’d received a crash course in safety – all day, every day, everywhere.

They learned about preparing a campsite. They found out what to do if they get lost. And should a child go missing, the parents learned of a way to help police get started in finding the youth. It was all part of the third annual Safety Awareness Day, hosted by the Suffolk police department’s forensic unit in conjunction with National Missing Children’s Week.

Officers took fingerprint and DNA swabs from kids and gave them to parents for safety.

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&uot;The samples should be put away in a safe place if the unfortunate happens and the child gets lost, or if the child become disoriented,&uot; said forensic supervisor Joan Jones.

Kennedy Middle student Win-ston Sellers was one local youth to be printed and sampled.

&uot;I learned that the police are really nice people that care about their job,&uot; he said. &uot;I want to have (the prints) so people know who I am if I get hurt. I want to be a police officers so I can help the community and make sure nothing happens to anyone.&uot;

Bicycle officers taught about safety on a two-wheeler. Officers from the canine department gave a drug-hunting exhibit with their four-legged colleagues. Officers gave out information about the Project Exile gun program and National Night Out, which will be Aug. 2. Local scouts told visitors about safety on a camping trip.

&uot;We showed how to set up camp,&uot; said Eagle Scout Conroy Randolph, a student at King’s Fork High. &uot;(When setting up a tent), you have to make sure there’s a way to keep the water out if it rains, and put the stakes in deep so they won’t blow away. Always make sure there’s an adult around, and have something to put a fire out, like sand or water.&uot;

Nearly every morning, WAVY News helicopter pilot John Massey can be seen barreling through the sky on the way to a breaking news site or for a look at morning traffic. Massey landed his Bell Long Ranger Three chopper at the park to show it off to potential future pilots.

&uot;This is for reaction time when there’s breaking news,&uot; Massey said. &uot;We can get there much faster than the ground units, and stay on sight for up to three hours. This is to let the community come out and learn about the chopper.&uot;

His air-bearing vehicle can go 150 miles an hour forward, continued Massey, who noted that it had taken him a whopping six minutes to fly from Portsmouth to Peanut Park early Saturday.

&uot;I’d never ridden in (a helicopter), but I’d like to, because it seems pretty cool,&uot; said Kerisa Tengowski, 13. &uot;I was surprised at how fast it went, because cars don’t even go that fast!&uot;