The Waukee Police Department has once again hosted their Safety City program this summer. This program is an interactive week long course for children entering kindergarten and covers a wide array of safety topics. The program typically runs for 6-8 weeks throughout the summer with morning and afternoon sessions and about 45 students per session.
“The Waukee Police Department facilitates numerous community outreach initiatives and my favorite is our annual Safety City Program for children who are incoming kindergarten students,” Waukee Chief of Police John Quinn said.
With the help of close to 150 volunteers aged 6th to 12th grade, the program utilizes videos, books, art, songs and a field trip to the Waukee Public Safety Building to teach the students the importance of pedestrian rules, fire safety, bullying, bus rules, traffic lights, calling 911 and more. A miniature city is also created in the Vince Meyer Learning Center to help teach students the importance of vehicle safety and correct street crossing techniques.
“For some of these kids, this is their first time going into a school setting other than preschool,” Waukee police Sergeant Mackenzie Sposeto said. “The reason we have the program is to give our kids entering kindergarten the aspect of just knowing what safety is, the idea of playground safety and just being independent.”
Students first watch a video with Sergeant Sposeto before taking a trip to Safety City. The city contains various buildings including a police building, city hall, Elmer’s Ice Cream and a fire department. The city also uses stop signs, cross walks and tricycles representing moving vehicles in order to teach the students the importance of pedestrian safety.
“Safety City provides an excellent opportunity for our School Resource Officers to connect with the kids at an early age, allowing the officers to be a positive influence in the attendees lives as the officers engage the kids throughout the years in the Waukee Schools,” Quinn said.
A graduation ceremony is then held at the end of the week to celebrate everything the students have learned throughout the week. Each student also receives a bicycle helmet and T-shirt.