Safety first: Jasper County Sheriff’s Office, groups gather for Community Safety Day | Local News

CARTHAGE, Mo. – The snow cones, hot dogs, hamburgers and snacks flowed freely and the air was occasionally shaken by loud explosions as the Jasper County Sheriff’s Office and other groups gathered in Carthage for Community Safety Day to show how they keep people safe.

This year marked the 10th annual event, with free food and snacks, a bounce house, booths to show ways to keep children safe and demonstrations by the sheriff’s K-9 unit and SWAT team.

“It’s been a great day; we’ve had a fantastic turnout, ”Sheriff Randee Kaiser said.

Three times during the event, the crowd was startled as the sheriff’s SWAT team used a “flash-bang” grenade to demonstrate how they would make a felony stop on a car. Under cover of the grenade thrown in one direction, the team of eight heavily armed officers approached the car from another direction, pulling the driver out and clearing the car of any other people.

A drug-sniffing dog also gave demonstrations to the crowd.

“These demos help us in that the public understands a little bit about what we do,” Kaiser said. “I’ve always said anytime the public can better understand the things we do, we’re better off as a law enforcement agency and better off as a community.”

Another division of the sheriff’s office, the posse, was on hand with two live horses and a simulated horse that children could ride.

“Our sheriff’s post – not a lot of people know this – is one of the few sheriff’s posses in Missouri that has search-and-rescue and evidence recovery accreditation,” Kaiser said. “… They serve a critical role for the sheriff’s office.”

Jennifer Owens, of Webb City, brought her daughter, Christina Davis, 7, to Community Safety Day so she could get to know some of the officers and see what officers do up close.

“She’s been wanting to have cop friends, and now she’s going to think they’re all her friends,” Owens said. “So she’s going to be really excited about that. It has been fun. ”

Owens said she’s happy for the chance for her child to meet local officers so she knows not to be afraid if the time comes when she needs to turn to them for help.

“It’s very important to introduce kids to officers,” Owens said. “That way they know there’s someone safe to go to. We’ve been working on that at home, too, so they know someone else besides their parents to go to and they know the police are there to help them and not to be afraid of the police. Sometimes the police look pretty scary when they’re in their uniforms. ”

Stephanie Theis, executive director of Children’s Haven in Joplin, set up a booth at Community Safety Day to help people learn about the services her agency offers. Children’s Haven is a shelter for children in cases of crisis.

“This is a great opportunity for all the organizations here and the sheriff’s department to partner together to help build those relationships so the community knows that we’re all working together to keep community kids safe,” Theis said.

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