HAMLET — Hamlet Police will participate this year in the National Child Safety Council’s “Safety Pup” program, teaching area schoolchildren about avoiding harm and shunning drugs.
The 33-year-old program has used a cartoon Safety Pup to display messages on milk cartons, as well as Safety Pup puppets and a mascot costume that makes the wearer look like a pudgy Captain America during public appearances.
“There are other programs available to my department,” Police Chief Scott Waters said, but “the council has the best materials available.”
And, he said, “the cost per child is the lowest we have found.”
For children in preschool through elementary school, the safety council will provide coloring sheets, ID and emergency cards, and materials on recognizing public-safety officers. It also will make available information on ID theft, internet safety and senior-citizen safety, for those on the other end of the age spectrum.
The materials for children will cover pedestrian safety, friendly police, general and internet safety, being aware of potentially dangerous people, and bullying. Children also will learn how to call 911 in case of emergencies, as well as how to resist peer pressure, smoking and harmful touching.
The department has asked area businesses for support. Sponsors’ names will appear on the materials given to children and others.
Those with questions may call Waters at 910-582-2551.
Our question: Who’s going to wear the mascot uniform?
“Oh, that probably will be Anne,” Waters said, referring to Officer Anne Griffin, who is organizing the department’s first Explorer post. According to Waters, Griffin was champing at the bit to wear the McGruff the Crime Dog outfit at a recent event but couldn’t because it wouldn’t come back from the cleaners’ on time.
Besides, the mascot uniform comes only after the program is well under way, Waters said. The department will have to earn points to acquire one.
Reach Christine Carroll at 910-817-2673 or [email protected]