IPD safety program returns

Independence officers present safety tips to students.

INDEPENDENCE — Independence Elementary School students learned some safety tips last Wednesday before heading out to trick-or-treat.

Independence School Resource Officer Robert Barlow, along with cadets and reserve officers, visited IES students Halloween morning to give out safety tips.

Wear bright colors; cross at the crosswalks; stay on the sidewalks; wear flashing lights; and use flashlights were among the tips, most of which can be used any time kids — and adults — are out walking.

Barlow said something he does when he goes for a walk or run is stop at driveways and make eye contact with drivers.

“I want them to make eye contact,” he said. “I want to make sure that they see me.”

He told the student to stay with their parents or another responsible adult.

“I’m concerned about using the buddy system,” he said.

And, of course, Barlow had candy-related tips to share as well.

He told students to make sure someone checks their candy to make sure it has not been tampered with, though, he added, there has never been an incident like that in this area.

“Should you just eat all your candy?” he asked one class.

In unison, they responded, “No!”

“We want you to eat just a little bit of candy,” he said.

And thanks to a donation from Julie McDonald, Farmers Insurance, they each received a reflective bag to haul all their treats.

“This is a program we used to do long ago, but as time passed, and budgets shrank, we had to put it aside,” said IPD Chief Bob Mason.

The insurance company and police department split the cost of 380 bags.

“We had to cut back a long time ago,” said IPD office manager Diane Barnett-Risen. “I get the mailings (to order bags) every year, and I finally said we need to do this. I bugged him (Mason) about it. He told me to see if I could get a sponsor and go for it. So I did.”

Mason suggested calling McDonald because they do so much for IPD, Barnett-Risen said.

“We haven’t sponsored the bags, but are always involved with downtown trick-or-treaters,” McDonald said.

Every year it just gets bigger and bigger, she said.

“Barnett-Risen started off with me, and I said let’s go for it,” McDonald said. “Anything for the kids, I always like to help with that.”

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