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Chemeketa Officers Teach Young Children About 911

Photos by Brad Bakke

In an emergency, we all know to call 911.  But we all had to learn that number somewhere.

Children enrolled in Chemeketa’s Early Child Development Center received a lesson about dialing 911 straight from officers of the Public Safety Department Wednesday, Feb. 26.

“We want to make sure kids know how to call 911 in an emergency, and we want to make sure they know its not a toy,” Tim Richardson, a Chemeketa Public Safety Officer, said.  “We want them to be comfortable speaking to someone in a uniform if they need help.”

Richardson asked the group of young children, “Does anyone know what 911 is for?”

Many hands went up, and the children gave various responses about getting help when someone is hurt.

Richardson and fellow Public Safety Officer Dwayne Mitzel then handed out 911 themed coloring books to the children.

“We’ve got coloring books here for everyone,” Richardson said.  “It’s got 911 on it, and a spot for you to write your name, your address, and a telephone number that a 911 dispatcher can call you back at.”

After distributing the coloring books, Richardson and Mitzel had another special surprise for the children.

“We’ve got one more surprise for you all,” Richardson said.  “We brought our police cars to show you.”

The children then made there way to the front door, where two Chemeketa campus patrol cars waited for them to explore.

Excited, the children climbed through the patrol cars, sitting in the seats, buckling seat belts, playing with the dashboards, and turning the steering wheels.

After a few minutes, the presentation was over and children returned to the classroom.

“I feel great about the presentation,” Richardson said.  “A lot of the kids surprised me with what they already knew about 911, but I think they have a lot better understanding of it now.

“And I think bringing out the police cars was a big hit.”

“It’s important to get the message about safety out to kids as early as possible,” Mitzel said.  “I really like seeing the kids learn.

“We really wanted to reemphasize to the kids today that 911 is an important number, and that it’s not just for law enforcement, but that it’s also for fires and medical emergencies, or even if you just see something that doesn’t seem right.”

Rubi Sandoval, a student teacher in the Early Child Development Center, witnessed the presentation.

Sandoval said, “everyone was into it, the kids were really responsive.”

“I think the officers were very informative,” Sandoval said.  “And that made the children ask even more questions back at them.  I think they picked up a lot.”


Officer Dwayne Mitzel (left) and Tim Richardson observe the activity as preschool students investigate a patrol car.

Officer Tim Richardson hands out honorary badges to students.


Officer Dwayne Mitzel watches as the preschool students and teachers investigate his patrol car.

Officer Dwayne Mitzel shows a preschool students how to activate the patrol car’s lights and sirens while a boy pretends to drive the patrol car.


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