Urbana Police officers hope to build positive relationships with local children through its Safety Town program this month.
The class runs the first two weeks of June and teaches children about traffic, pedestrian and fire safety, Urbana Police Officer Jason Kizer said, as well as other skills needed before entering school.
Safety Town classes are for children who are about to enter kindergarten, he said, and are offered at no cost to parents.
“It’s about keeping them safe,” Kizer said. “We try to teach them something that is going to be lasting for them.”
Classes are held the first two weeks of June at Melvin Miller Park in Urbana. Kizer hopes the program will expand in the future to the whole month of June.
Students get hands-on learning, he said. Traffic safety lessons are taught in a paved area with lined streets where children can ride bikes to simulate driving.
“Hopefully the foundation we’ve laid here will help them transition into not having accidents here in the city and how to pay attention,” Kizer said.
The program began five years ago in Urbana and is paid for by donations from local residents and businesses, he said.
Representatives from local organizations also visit classes to teach lessons, he said, including Urbana firefighters, lifeguards and children’s services.
The program also builds a relationship between officers and children.
“Kids see the uniform and at first they’re intimidated by it,” Kizer said. “We want them to know in their time of need they can come to us and not be afraid.”
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