Part 2 of our Safety Unit started this morning with a visit to a local preschool, where Officer Bobby from our town's police department was scheduled to speak to the class. Officer Bobby took the kids through the basics...don't talk to strangers, say "no" to drugs, and tell the police if you see something bad. Then he moved on to the most compelling part of his presentation (besides the obligatory giveaways at the end) where he showed us his Kevlar vest and described what he carried on his belt: gun, tazer, handcuffs (in two sizes), baton, knife, radio, 2 extra magazines loaded with .40 caliber hollow-point bullets (Officer Bobby made a point to share that it was far better to have too much ammo than not enough, and I couldn't agree with him more). And finally, he took the band of preschoolers outside to take turns sitting in the squad SUV, and beeping its siren...ooooh, ahhhh!
Ok, so I chickened out, but let's face it, friends, in our current political climate, if I had asked half the questions that came to mind, I'm sure I would have pulled into my driveway to find social workers on my doorstep ready to ask a few questions of their own.
After all, who really cares if a citizen's constitutional rights are violated if it means the rest of us feel safer? Who cares that police routinely operate outside the constraints of the law in order to provide us with the appearance of "security"? No one even notices that "law enforcement officer" has now somehow mutated into "community safety officer" encouraging us to abdicate our divine right to protect ourselves and our property to a disinterested third party.
But I digress...let's just say that, in spite of my inability to ask the probing questions during the preschool safety lecture, this portion of the Safety Unit I have edited very carefully for my own kids. In fact, the bundle of free schwagg we left the presentation with was chock full of implications about our dependence on police for personal safety and the supposition that all people arrested by the police are indeed guilty, so we will refrain from using them for their coloring book magnificence, and instead use them as fodder for the firepit.
In defense of poor Officer Bobby, who was on "Preschool Education Detail" in part because of a recent knee surgery, he never did hit upon any of the red flagged buzzwords I was primed to pounce on. I never heard him say "Police are here to keep you safe", and he didn't come across like a roided out nutcase with a power complex. Quite the opposite. He was a soft spoken, humble, Iraq vet who told the kids he became a police officer because he liked to help people. Kudos to the Department for employing one of the good guys.