Local activist and ECPD host child safety seminar

Published: Jun. 23, 2022 at 10:24 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - Parents, community members and law enforcement officers met at Chippewa Valley Technical College Thursday night to learn the most effective language, resources, and strategies for keeping children safe.

“I just kind of noticed the need in the community by talking with friends and families that a lot of parents maybe need some information or refreshers, or would appreciate some information on how to chat with their children about personal safety and online safety,” Kayla Rick said.

Rick is the founder of Infinity Cares, an Eau Claire-based nonprofit aiming to better educate families on child safety.

Thursday’s presentation included four Eau Claire Police Department detectives, and a representative from the Wisconsin Department of Justice with experience in crimes related to children.

“Two of the detectives work in the schools as school resource officers, and then the other detectives work in a unit in the Eau Claire Police Department for crimes against children,” Rick said.

Discussion topics ranged from online dangers to those in person, with an emphasis on the “Charlie Checks First” safety method taught to elementary students.

“It’s teaching you to check with an adult before you go meet with someone else,” Adam Bempnister, School Resource Officer for North High School in Eau Claire, said. “Teacher if you’re in school, on the playground; a parent if you’re at home. You’re supposed to check first before you make a decision or before you go somewhere with someone that you don’t know, or maybe somebody that you do know.”

Law enforcement officers say a majority of crimes against children are committed by someone they know, which means child safety goes beyond the standard stranger-danger.

“We kind of grew up during that time of talking about stranger danger, which there’s nothing wrong with that,” Rick said. “It’s just they think now it needs to be infused with a little bit more to know when something might be an unsafe versus safe situation.”

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