The most recent trainees at the Leesburg Police Department celebrated Friday the completion of a week-long safety course.
All of these graduates, though, were no more than 10 years old.
The presented the completion certificates to 12 students in its KidSmart Safety Camp, a program offered to children ages 6 through 10 that covers a variety of subjects, including Internet, gun, animal , fire, personal and bicycle safety.
KidSmart is led by Master Police Officer Chris Tidmore and is assisted by the Leesburg Police Explorers, who are year-round volunteers.
“Every year is a little bit different, the kids seem to enjoy it and it is a good way to learn life-long safety skills,” Tidmore said.
LPD offers the camp free of charge. This year they had support from State Farm Agent Megan Smith of Leesburg. The camp generally costs about $200 to operate.
The week featured a number of other guests: the Loudoun County Animal Control presented an animal safety program, which explained to the kids the importance of being careful when interacting with animals that are unknown to them.
Campers also learned about fire safety from the Loudoun County Fire Public Education Office with its 35-foot Life Safety mobile trailer, which can simulate a house and teach fire escape plans, home safety and severe weather preparedness.
Another important concept taught during the week is gun safety. Officer Tidmore uses the Eddie Eagle Gun Safety Program, which teaches four important steps kids should follow if they find a gun: Stop. Don’t touch. Leave the area. Tell an adult. Campers are asked to make a poster illustrating what they learn regarding gun safety, which is one of the requirements for successfully completing the camp.
The last day of camp focuses on bicycle and scooter safety. All participants must wear helmets as required by law. Campers are taught how to stop quickly, check their bikes to make sure they are safe to ride and make turns safely.