Police stress gun safety to children; provide gun locks to parents

IF YOU SEE A GUN – Sheffield Lake Police Det. Ralph Gonzalez carefully reviews the steps children should take whenever they see a gun during his presentation to Safety Town participants last week.

By Michele Murphy

Sheffield Lake -Sheffield Village- Dozens of little eyes fastened on to Sheffield Lake Police Det. Ralph Gonzalez as he walked to the front of the gym at Knollwood School. Tucked under his arm was a big picture book which he intended to read to the children as he led them through an introduction to gun safety, a key element of the curriculum for Sheffield-Sheffield Lake’s Safety Town program.

However, before he even got started, little hands shot in the air. “Do you have a real gun?” asked one. “Yes, I do, because I am a policeman.”

“I never saw a gun before,” offered another. “I have,” stated a third.

This gave Gonzalez his opening. He explained there were some rules for children to follow if they ever saw a gun anywhere.

“Stop what you are doing immediately,” he said, “And do not touch the gun.”

“Leave the area and tell an adult where the gun is.”

To reinforce the message, he read aloud to the children from the picture book which echoed his earlier message.
Gonzalez was joined by Sheffield Village patrol officer and school resource officer Keith Pool. Pool had a few props, which he handed off to Gonzalez.

One was a yellow toy gun. The police officers explained guns come in all colors and, just because a gun looks like a toy, doesn’t meant it is. They restated the message again as they showed an orange gun to the kids.

They then showed the kids a real gun that had been disabled by a gun lock.

Kids had questions about squirt guns and real guns and the two officers patiently answered each question. Then they reviewed the rules and had children repeat them back. When kids successfully completed that task, officers rewarded them by giving them a tour of their police vehicles, turning on the lights and occasionally hitting the siren, all to squeals of delight and looks of awe.

Officers also brought gun locks with them and offered them to parents courtesy of their respective departments. More than 50 gun locks were accepted and taken home.



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