The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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March 12, 2014

Beckley PD, ‘Patrolman Phil’ help teach kids to be healthy and safe

BECKLEY — Beckley Police Department officers are hanging out with Raleigh County elementary school students this week, along with their pals Patrolman Phil and Lucky Ducky.

After visiting Greater Beckley Christian School Tuesday, officers will visit six other city and county elementary schools this week for the “Patrolman Phil” program, which teaches kids about being healthy, staying safe around strangers, and how police can help them in times of trouble or when they need assistance.

The Patrolman Phil program uses colorful magic tricks and fun characters to teach kids the importance of wearing bike helmets, fastening seatbelts, listening to bus drivers, staying safe around strangers, eating fruits and vegetables, and staying physically fit.

“The kids really enjoy the program and the interaction,” said Beckley Police Chief Lonnie Christian. “It allows the children to meet police officers on a friendly basis.”

Christian said officers are using the program to gain more of a friendly presence among children in the community.

“The main thing we want is for kids, if they need help, to feel comfortable coming to police officers for help,” he explained. “Too often, we see parents who scare their kids and tell them to be good or the police will come and take them away.

“But we’re there to help,” he added. “We don’t want kids afraid of the police.”

Patrolman Phil is joined by his friend, Lucky Duck. The characters sing songs, tell jokes and educate kids about eating healthy and getting enough physical activity.

“Don’t give your phone number, address or send pictures to anyone unless your grown-ups are with you and say it’s OK,” Patrolman Phil advised the kids Tuesday.

At the end of each program, Lucky sings a song to remind kids about the important lessons they have been taught during the class.

Patrolman Phil will be at Coal City Elementary today and will visit St. Francis, Beckley, Clear Fork, Lester and Cranberry-Prosperity schools later this week.

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