by Lisa Tome
The miniature town is in place, the duct tape road has been laid, and the pedal cars have been shined up and are ready for their drivers.
The one thing missing at this year's Safetyville is Scott Adams.
Adams, now Cecil's Sheriff, has spent his summers working at Safetyville for the past two decades. His new position won't allow him to help oversee the program this year, but he may check in for old time's sake.
This year, Sgt. Todd Creek, Cpl. Mark Messner, DFC Stavros Plagianakos, and DFC Derek Minker will lead Safetyville with the help from teen volunteers. Many of the teen volunteers attended Safetyville as children.
The Safetyville program, for children ages 4-5, is a longstanding summer tradition in the county. It is a partnership between the Cecil Sheriff's Office and Cecil County Parks and Recreation in cooperation with the school system.
Safetyville teaches children the role of police in the community, stranger danger, gun safety, bike safety, poisons/household safety, water, electric, and fire safety, as well as pedestrian and motorist safety. Children also learn to dial 911.
One of the highlights is held two days before the program wraps up. Community helpers bring their vehicles to Safetyville and children learn about different jobs and the vehicles driven by the community helpers.
Two daily sessions are currently underway at Rising Sun High School. That program runs June 22 through July 2. There is still space for 10 more children at Rising Sun.
There is still time to register your child for Safetyville at Thomson Estates Elementary. That program runs from July 13-23. Cost is $42 per child. You may register at the Cecil Parks and Recreation website. There is space for about 30 children in that program.
"The joy of seeing the kids' faces is the biggest reward for us. We are keeping them safe for life," said Cpl. Mark Messner, who has worked a Safetyville for a decade. He said that the support of the various agencies to keep deputies involved in this program has been "outstanding". He also said that Safetyville allows deputies to build a relationship with children starting at a young age.
"I like that we get a chance to do this," said DFC Plagianakos. "It's nice to work with small kids. They actually listen."