Vacation at the station; Kids learn bike safety, more at police event

By Brian Knox | Published Saturday, August 12, 2017
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Ready to Roll

READY TO ROLL – Six-year-old William Golaz II of Decatur rides his bike around traffic cones as part of the bicycle rodeo activity at the Decatur Police Department’s Summer Vacation program Friday at the police station. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

One moment, a line of children’s bicycles sat motionless in a row outside of the Decatur Police Department Friday.

A moment later, excited kids were hopping onto them, positioning helmets on their heads.

“This needs to be a little bit tighter,” Lt. Delvon Campbell said to one child while tugging on the straps. “You see how that feels?”

He inspected the other helmets – “Good, good, good,” he said.

The children had just finished watching a video on bicycle safety inside the police station, and now they pedaled out the middle of the parking lot, preparing to participate in a bike rodeo.

Safety Tips

SAFETY TIPS – Lt. Delvon Campbell goes over safety tips before taking the group on a bike ride around the neighborhood. Learning about bicycle safety was just one of several activities involved with the Decatur Police Department’s Summer Vacation program. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Their objective would be to navigate around a series of traffic cones in the parking lot to simulate how to ride around obstacles the kids might face in a bike ride around their home.

But just as the kids prepared for their challenge, the gray skies above their heads opened up, sending kids running back through a heavy rain to the protection of an awning.

But the rain couldn’t stop the fun during the Decatur Police Department’s Summer Vacation program for children ages 5 to 8.

In fact, just a few minutes later, Campbell pointed out a rainbow off in the distance to show them the rain was coming to an end, but many of the children seemed perfectly happy splashing in the puddles that had suddenly sprung up.

Back on their bikes, the kids showed off their safe riding skills.

The bike rodeo was just one of several activities for kids during the summer vacation program. The kids had already taken a tour of the police station, and later they would tour the fire station next door, participate in an anti-bullying program, play water games, paint rocks and learn about crime scene techniques such as fingerprinting.

“We’re trying to get the kids back into knowing about the police, trying to train them on what we do, and then bicycle safety,” Police Chief Rex Hoskins said.

The department held the program over two days, one in July and one in August, for the first time this year. About 30 kids attended this year’s program, and Hoskins said plans are already being made for next year, which they hope will include activities for older kids.

“Our goal is to be more community-oriented toward the kids,” Hoskins said.

Having completed the obstacle course, the kids were ready to hit the actual streets of Decatur for a ride around the block.

Following a police motorcycle with red and blue lights flashing, the kids pedaled away from the station under a clearing sky for a quick ride before returning for more fun activities.

Fun for All Ages 1

FUN FOR ALL AGES – Hartford Booth of Decatur was one of eight kids participating in the Summer Vacation event Friday. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Fun for All Ages 2

But it wasn’t just kids who were having fun. Officer Daniel Sandate showed off his biking skills as well. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

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