Local Field Trip: Police Station
Jun 10, 2011
A police station is a great place to teach your child about safety issues and the work police officers do to protect your local community. There are myriad teaching opportunities at a police station, as described below.
Before You Go
A police station can be a busy place that is not appropriate for children at all times. Be sure to call ahead and ensure that the station you wish to visit conducts tours for children. Police officers handle emergencies as a regular part of their job; this makes it important to warn your child that a scheduled trip may be interrupted at the last moment.
As additional preparation, discuss with your child some of the potentially scary or dangerous things you may encounter at a police station. There may be criminals or other individuals passing through who may be intimidating to children. Additionally, police officers handle weapons and other items that need to be treated with caution and respect. A police station is not a safe environment for your child to explore on his or her own.
Teaching Moments at the Site
Many tours of police stations include the opportunity to meet the various people who work there. Your child can gain a better understanding of how the job of law enforcement involves an entire team, including many people working behind the scenes. You may get to meet patrol officers, detectives, emergency dispatch workers and administrative staff.
These individuals may explain their roles to your child. For example, an emergency dispatch worker can explain the 911 system, including how calls are received and emergency response units are alerted to the situation. Patrol officers and detectives may show your child pieces of their equipment, including bullet-proof vests, two-way radios and handcuffs.
Your tour may also involve visits to the specialized rooms within the police station and a lesson in how they're used. For example, the booking room is where fingerprints and photographs are taken. You may also get to see a holding cell for prisoners. Outside of the police station, your tour guide may show your child a patrol car and its many tools and features.
After Your Visit
In addition to learning how police officers do their work, one of the most important lessons for your child during a police station field trip involves personal safety. After your visit, ensure that your child is fluent in essential safety tips. For young children, it's critical that they learn the key facts that can help them in an emergency; these include their name, their parents' names, their parents' phone numbers and their home addresses.
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