HAMLET — The police officer is your friend — even if your grandma’s in jail for doing nothing.
And so is a firefighter, even though one can look a little scary decked out in gear.
Forty-six preschoolers and a handful of teachers from Monroe Avenue Elementary School visited the Hamlet fire and police departments Thursday morning, to learn why firefighters wear all that equipment, what color lights fire and police vehicles flash, and that sometimes, police already know some of your family members — perhaps a little more intimately than either would wish.
First, the children heard firefighter John DeWitt describe the equipment firefighters wear: air tanks “so we can go into a fire … and rescue people,” helmets “to keep stuff from falling on our heads,” and boots, coats and special pants to repel the flames and to keep from being burned.
“When firefighters put all of their stuff on, they can be pretty scary,” DeWitt said in a sing-song voice. “But, do we need to be scared of a firefighter?”
That met a chorus of “noooooooooooooooooo”s, as did: “If there is a fire, y’all have to stay outside of it. You never … go back in.”
The children then moved outside to hear from Officer Corey Wilson, who introduced them to his mobile office, or police cruiser.
Wilson pointed to his gun and Taser, telling the children he never wanted to use them. He pointed to his body camera, telling the children it kept him both safe and honest.
One child asked whether Wilson would serve them doughnuts. (No, but they received goody bags later.)
And another volunteered that her grandma was in jail.
Child: “My grandma’s in jail.”
Wilson, lightly: “What did she do?”
Wilson: “We hear that a lot.”
Following up on other tales of relatives in cells, Wilson answered: “Your daddy’s in jail? Sorry” and “Your uncle’s in jail?” before cutting off the line of true confessions.
The children, though, seemed unfazed, enthusiastically examining Wilson’s cruiser, then following him into the police station to close out their tour and receive their goodies.
Reach Christine Carroll at 910-817-2673 or [email protected]