POLLOCK — Pollock’s police chief went on some wild rides as Grant Parish fifth-graders used “drunk goggles” to try to drive a golf cart without running over cones.
It did not go well, and therein lies a lesson. It was one of many the kids learned Thursday at Camp Grant Walker while managing to have some fun, too.
“She’s destined to ride in the back seat,” Chief Chris Paul joked as he took over the wheel from a girl after she’d hit a record number of cones, which Paul had told the kids represented family members, dogs or other people.
Before the students took to the course, Paul warned them about the dangers of driving impaired. Even medication prescribed for you can make operating a vehicle or other machinery dangerous, he told them.
“Y’all are gonna hit some cones,” he told the Colfax Elementary School students.
The goggles simulated the effects of being impaired, and Paul and Pollock Officer Harry Robertson rode with the students as they took turns driving the two golf carts around a horseshoe-shaped course outlined in cones.
The Pollock Police Department was one of many agencies, partners and sponsors at the 4-H education complex, teaching lessons about fire, gun and all-terrain vehicle safety, impaired driving and good hygiene. After lunch, the students also heard a presentation about bullying.
Grant Parish Sheriff Steven McCain said the day-long session is meant to reach out to children and to teach them about issues they will face as they grow older. Hopefully, he said, it will help them make wiser choices and stay safe and out of trouble.
At the Grant Parish Fire District 3 display, Colfax Elementary teacher Tracy Geisel watched as her students tried on firefighting gear after they had their turn inside a trailer where they got a lesson on fire safety and a demonstration of how smoke can overtake a person. “They love coming here,” she said.
Grant Parish Sheriff’s Deputy Bryon Taylor shows Pollock Elementary School students bullets that hit watermelons in a gun safety trailer. The fifth-graders were at Camp Grant Walker Thursday to learn safety and health lessons. (Photo: Melissa Gregoryfirstname.lastname@example.org)
“Great safety lessons that we’re learning today,” said Geisel.
Grant Parish Sheriff’s deputy Micah Murrell, a D.A.R.E. officer and 15-year veteran, asked a group of Pollock Elementary School students what they should do if they find a gun somewhere or see a fellow student with a gun.
“Listen to me, guys, listen to me. Call us. Get grownups involved. Don’t touch it,” he said after some shouted answers. “Even guns with little orange tips are supposed to be fake. Not all of them are. Some of our bad guys now are taking paint and painting the end of real guns orange to make us hesitate. Think about it.”
Murrell also conducted a popular demonstration of shooting a watermelon inside a gun safety trailer. “Awww, it blew up!” one boy shouted as Murrell hopped up on part of the trailer to tower over the kids.
“Just for a second, I want you to put yourself in your mind, you had that gun, and you accidentally shot someone. Can we put them back together?” he asked. “Nooooo,” they yelled.