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Ripon Police read stories to & chat with youngsters during library event
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Brooke Hall, 5, got the experience of her young life when traffic Officer Stephen Meece let her sit atop his police motorcycle and don his helmet heavy as it was for her small head. - photo by GLENN KAHL

RIPON — It was a thrilling afternoon of story time and meeting police officers for a group of young children at the Ripon Library Tuesday as part of the “Meet your Community Helpers” series.

Entitled “Police to the Rescue,” it began with Ripon Police traffic officer Stephen Meece reading a story to youngsters who gathered sitting on a rug hardly taking their eyes off of the motorcycle policeman.

Female officer Mindy Morris took out her pink handcuffs and showed them to the group telling the girls that nothing should stop them when they grow up if they think they want to become a police officer or a firefighter.  She stressed that anything is possible in their future. 

Officer Morris explained that she drives a police car alone and makes traffic stops just like the men officers – making arrests as well.

School resource officer Trevor McGinnis talked with the children about safety and especially the importance of wearing a helmet when they are riding their bicycles.  He showed them all the equipment he carries on his belt, from a baton to a flashlight. 

Pointing to his mouth, he said that is the most often piece of equipment he uses in the field – talking to people and calming them down before a Taser or baton is necessary.

He talked about the use of crosswalks and the importance of pushing the button on the lighted crosswalks before crossing the street, especially at night.

He asked his audience if anyone in their families talks on the phone or puts on makeup while they are driving the car – telling them that they shouldn’t because it’s dangerous.   One young girl raised her hand anxious to tell what she had seen.

McGinnis introduced officer Gordon West whose “licking machine,” he said was outside in the form of his drug dog Topper.

The children were then ushered to the front parking lot of the library where motorcycle officer Stephen Meece put on a demonstration with his police motorcycle and allowed several children to sit on the seat and wear his black and white helmet.

The black Labrador retriever drug dog was a popular hit as well. He was brought out of his canine unit for the enjoyment of the children.