by Lisa Tome
"Precious cargo ahead."
That's what Rising Sun police chief Chip Peterson explained as he laid out his department's preparations for the new school year.
"This is extremely important with back to school. We need to get motorists in the habit of looking for pedestrians," said Peterson.
"One of our primary functions is public safety - that's pedestrian safety and motorist safety. People need to be cognizant, be aware, and be cautious."
Rising Sun police officer George Vanaskey was out implementing some back to school procedures last week. He was performing traffic enforcement and writing warnings at a number of locations including in front of Rising Sun Middle School.
"I've written for following too closely, no turn on red, and speeding. I'm writing drivers for anywhere from 10-20 (miles over the speed limit)," said Vanaskey.
He was also issuing reminders that school starts this week.
"I am giving them the times (that children are going to or leaving school). I am telling people to watch for pedestrians. Most people are receptive. They say thanks. I am out here building awareness," said Vanaskey.
After he finished up with the drivers, the officer had another task to complete. He was asked to give a safety presentation for the Homework Club at Maple Heights Apartments.
`When he started his talk, only three children attended, as word spread that an officer was on site, the number of children multiplied.
Vanaskey talked to the children about the importance of walking in pairs to the bus stop.
"Pay attention to what is going on and walk in pairs," he said. He also cautioned the children about accepting rides from strangers and reporting strangers who approach them to an adult.
"Look both ways before you cross the street and you need to realize that people can't see you because you're small," said Vanaskey.
The officer told children about calling 911, entering the bus safely, and more. At the end of his talk, he let the children test out his patrol vehicle, by turning the siren on and testing the lights.
As Officer Vanaskey left the children he approached one boy and said "behave, say no to drugs, do good in school, and cut your hair."