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Child Safety

BE ON THE LOOKOUT (BOLO)

The Department’s organizational philosophy centers around the concept of community-based, grass roots, and customer service policing.  Organizational programs are focused upon and provided for in this vein.  Everything throughout the Department is developed and implemented with the objective of enhancing partnerships with residents, business, civic organizations, and the school district. The community and the Department believe the programs increase relationships between the Department, community organizations and the general public.  Its success is measured in the reduction of criminal activity.

9-1-1 Education

Teach your family how to use 9-1-1 most effectively.  For more details, see the information supplied by The National 9-1-1 Education Coalition.

Safe Routes to School

In 2006, the Ohio Department of Transportation initiated a 100% federally funded grant program called "Safe Routes to Schools" (SRTS).  The Program is an opportunity to make walking and bicycling to school safer for children and to increase the number of children who choose to walk and bicycle.  The program is being credited at school districts in other states as one which enhances children’s health and well-being, eases traffic congestion near schools, improves the air quality and improves community members’ overall quality of life.  SRTS programs use a variety of education, engineering and enforcement strategies that help make routes safer for children to walk and bicycle to school and encouragement strategies to entice more children to walk and bike.  They have grown popular in recent years in response to problems created by an expanding built environment, a growing reliance on motor vehicles for student transportation and with the more recent development of federal and state funding of SRTS programs. 

Whether children are in school or out of school, Chief Michael Taylor would like to remind everyone of the following safety tips so that everyone will have a safe and pleasant trip to and from their destinations and school.

Walking Safety for Children

Safety tips for crossing the street:

1.  Stop at the curb or the edge of the road if there is no curb.

2.  Stop and look left, then right, then left again for moving cars before you step into the street.

3.  If you see a car, wait until it goes by.  Then look left, right, left again until no cars are coming.

4.  If a car is parked where you are crossing, look to make sure there is no driver and that the car is not running.

5.  Next, go to the edge of the car and look left, right, left to see if cars are coming.  When no cars are coming, walk - do not run - across the road.  Keep looking left, right, left for cars while you are crossing.

Things to Remember

1. Always walk on the sidewalk if there is one.

2. If there is no sidewalk, walk along the side of the road FACING TRAFFIC.

3. Be seen.  Brightly colored clothing makes it easier for drivers to see you during the daytime.

4. Darting out in front of a parked car is dangerous. The driver of cars coming down the street can't see you.

Traffic Signal Messages and Their Meaning

At intersections with traffic lights and pedestrian signals, it is important to follow the signals carefully.

Wait until you see the WALK signal, following again the basic rules for crossing.

A flashing DON'T WALK signal indicates you should not start to cross the street; however, if you are in the middle of the street and the DON'T WALK signal starts flashing, continue walking.  You have time to complete the crossing.

If you see a steady DON'T WALK signal, do not begin to cross the street!  Wait for the next WALK signal.

Remember to make eye contact with drivers to ensure they see you.  Do not take a walk signal, a green traffic light, or a driver for granted.

The WALK signal and the green traffic light indicate that it is your turn to cross the street, but they DO NOT mean it is always safe to cross.

The WALK signal and the green light mean look, and then if it is safe, go.

Bike Safety for Kids

Rules to ride by:

1. No playing in the road.

2. No riding on busy streets.

3. No riding in the dark.

4. Stop for all stop signs.

5. Ride on the right, WITH TRAFFIC.

6. Use your own best judgment - do not let friends get you into danger.

7. Always wear your bike helmet.

8. Wear your helmet correctly - not too loose and not tipped back on your head.

9. Use hand signals.

10. Ride with both hands on the handlebars.

11. Only one person per bike.

12. Obey all traffic signs and laws.

13. Don't wear earphones or earbuds.

14. Make eye contact with drivers at intersections.

15. Do not pass on curves where you can not see ahead.

16. Signal when passing - ring your bell or say "passing on your left"

17. No cell phone use or texting while riding.

18. Ride on trails or multi-use paths wherever possible as a safe alternative to riding on a busy roadway.

Bicycling

When riding on the street, a bicycle is considered a vehicle.  Bicyclists should be riding in the same traffic pattern as a car. The same rules apply for a bicycle as a car.  Reflective material, lights in the front and a red flashing light on the rear of the bike should be used at night.  Ohio law enforcement can write citations to violators, which could cost $85 - $100 per violation. Lights can be purchased for less!

Skating

Skaters should follow the same rules as pedestrians.  If the area is unsafe to skate, then skaters should carry their boards.  The City of Pickerington has a skate park and parents are encouraged to drop off and pick up their children.  Parking lots and businesses are private property.  Many of the businesses do not allow skating on their property.  Residential streets may appear to be tempting but are dangerous!

Suspicious Activity: While out riding, biking, walking or skating in your neighborhood pay attention to suspicious activity.  Citizens play an important role in our community.  If you observe a any kind of activity that may seem questionable, please call the Pickerington Police or the Fairfield County Sheriff’s Department.

When bicycling or skating, you should always wear a helmet and protective clothing to minimize injuries.  Keep in mind that reaction time to move out of the way of a moving vehicle is never fast enough!  We strongly discourage running or walking when it is getting dark. 

Interesting Facts

A 2004-2005 study of Ohio elementary school students found that 18.2% of Fairfield County third graders are overweight and an additional 14.8% are at risk of becoming overweight.  To combat these statistics, it is recommended that children get 60 minutes a day of physical activity.  Biking or walking to school can jump-start a child on the road to this goal and provide endless health benefits including:

  • Building healthy bones, muscles and joints
  • Reducing the risk for asthma
  • Helping control weight, building lean muscle and reducing fat
  • Reversing high blood pressure and high cholesterol
  • Improving sense of self-image and autonomy
  • Controlling stress
  • Eliminating Type 2 diabetes
  • Fostering healthy social and emotional development
  • Building self-esteem and confidence
  • Improving academic performance and alertness
  • Meeting new people and making new friends
  • Reducing sleep problems
  • Instilling healthy habits that last a lifetime

Juvenile Curfew

The City of Pickerington has a juvenile curfew law which prohibits or restricts children under the age of 18 from being out and about after certain hours.  The Pickerington Codified Ordinance states:

648.11 MINOR'S CURFEW.

(a)Responsibility of Minors.

Minors under fourteen.  No minor under the age of fourteen years shall engage in any employment or be upon or in any street, park or public place in the Municipality between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. of the following day, unless accompanied by his or her parent, guardian or other person having the care, custody and/or control of such minor.

Minors under sixteen.  No minor under the age of sixteen years shall loiter or be upon or in any street, park or public place in the Municipality between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. of the following day, unless accompanied by his or her parent, guardian or other person having the care, custody and/or control of such minor. 

Minors under eighteen.  No minor under the age of eighteen years shall loiter or be upon or in any street, park or public place between the hours of 12:00 midnight and 5:00 a.m., unless accompanied by his or her parent, guardian or other person having the care, custody and/or control of such minor. 

Responsibility of Parents.  No parent, guardian or other person having the care, custody and/or control of a minor under the age of eighteen years shall knowingly permit such minor to violate any of the provisions of subsection (a) hereof. 

Exceptions.  A minor may travel, traverse or be upon or in any street, park or public place, while directly en route to or from any public or parochial school functions or service club dances.

Gang Information

Gangs exist in every county in the State of Ohio. The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections has tracked over 700 groups that pose threats to our communities and Pickerington is not immune.

So what is the definition of a gang? Ohio law describes this as any group of people of three or more that may use a symbol or sign, or wear identical clothing, specifically in colors and with the purpose to break the law or have criminal intent.

How can I tell if my son or daughter is in a gang or wants to be in a one?

First and foremost recognize that gangs may include both males and females or male only and female only groups.

The easiest way to determine if your child has joined or wants to join a gang is to see if there have been significant behavior issues or changes. This may include rudeness, bullying parents and siblings, disobedience, failure to follow up on chores and homework to name a few. More importantly, take a look at the change of friends he or she is suddenly hanging out with. Are their grades falling? Is truancy or tardiness a problem at school? Have they been suspended or threatened with suspension for bad behavior at school? Are they involved in alcohol, drugs, and tobacco? If they tell you that they do not do alcohol, drugs and tobacco, check the odor on their clothing. Are they staying out past your curfew boundaries? Are there obvious signs of graffiti, two or three color clothing? Are there unexplainable expensive items or large sums of money? Or do they admit to being in a gang.

Remember that peer pressure is tough on our kids and they easily fall into the trap of wanting to be with those who appear to have no rules to follow or parents to control them. Most kids who join gangs look for things they do not have at home or do not perceive that they have it made at home, such as protection, acceptance, power and even a level of excitement of being in a gang.

Lastly, recognize that entry into a gang is by initiation NOT by invitation.  It is a physical initiation either by getting pummeled, leaving bruises, welts and even fractured bones or by rape by the gang members.

Child Safety Seat Law

Ohio Revised Code 4511.81

Children who are either or both - (1) less than 4 years of age, (2) less than 40 pounds - MUST be in an approved child safety seat, installed according to the manufacturer's instructions. Children less than 8 years of age, or less then 80 pounds must be seated in an approved booster seat, installed according to the manufacturer's instructions.

The Pickerington Police Department encourages everyone to follow the law -

it is a known fact that seat belts saves lives!