Lieutenant Paul Haase with the Pella Police Department has ten years of experience in law enforcement. I did a ride alone with him a few years ago as parents were dropping kids off at school, and new teen drivers were arriving. He and the rest of the law enforcement officers that I have gotten to know over the years are very concerned about the safety of our children. I spoke with him about general safety issues as well as some things to remember as school starts again. Among the things I learned include the following:
1. Even good kids can get into trouble, and make bad decisions. He says that parental involvement is the key to help kids not make bad decisions. Keep communication lines open.
2. Child abductions are on the minds of many. He says that it is best for parents or another trusted person to drop kids off and pick them up from school. If kids are going to walk to and from school, walking in a group is best.
3. Teach your children to never get into the car with people they don’t know, under any circumstances.
4. Almost every child uses the internet these days. He suggests that parents monitor their children’s activity, regularly check the history of the websites visited, and put computers in common spaces. It’s best for children not to have computers in their rooms.
5. Cell phones are wonderful tools for safety. Make sure that your children are using them appropriately, given that they too have internet access. Teach your children that sending or receiving inappropriate photos is a very bad idea.
6. Teach your children to never, under any circumstances, share personal information online with someone they don’t know.
These are just a few of the things that I learned. Enjoy the interview.