Sheriff's Office Welcomes Deputies May 22, 2018
Three new deputies joined the Chester County Sheriff's Office on May 14. During a swearing-in ceremony in Courtroom One of the Chester County Justice Center, Chester County Sheriff Carolyn Bunny Welsh explained that the positions were highly competitive and welcomed the new deputies, Marian "My" Inderelst, Keith Neiswender, and Howard "Larry" Sipple.
Welsh said the three deputies, who already have their Act 120 police certification, will participate in a rigorous 11-week regimen of orientation and field training. Inderelst and Sipple will then travel to Harrisburg for two weeks of state training, a program that Neiswender has already completed.
Inderelst, a Chester County native, began her working life in her family's fourth-generation sand-mining business. After her father sold the company, she became a licensed veterinary technician and worked at the University of Pennsylvania's small animal hospital. As a vet tech, she developed interest in police work through an affiliation with a SWAT team, and she decided to attend the Delaware County Community College's Police Academy. She graduated in 2017 and accepted a part-time position with the West Brandywine Township Police Department. Part of her attraction to the Sheriff's Office was its K-9 Unit.
Neiswender, a native of Birdsboro, graduated from the Montgomery County Community College's Police Academy in 2005 after stints in the Navy and Army National Guard. Neiswender comes to the Chester County Sheriff's Office with experience in the Berks County Sheriff's Office, where he attained the rank of sergeant and worked in a variety of areas, including the civil and warrants divisions, as well as Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. He maintains a strong commitment to fallen law enforcement officers, participating annually in a bike ride to Washington, D.C.
Sipple grew up in a military family, with his father having a military service background and his uncle being employed as a state trooper. Sipple earned an associate degree in arts and sciences from the University of Delaware, joined the Navy, and graduated from the Delaware County Community College's Police Academy in 2002. He spent 13 years with the Caln Township Police Department and has worked part time for the police forces in Sadsbury Township and West Grove.
Agencies Post Road Safety Information May 15, 2018
To encourage safer driving in the state, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) and the State Police recently urged drivers to review and obey driver safety laws that may not be well known among the public.
Pennsylvania's Blind Pedestrians law mandates that the driver of a vehicle yield the right of way to any totally or partially blind pedestrian carrying a visible white cane or accompanied by a guide dog. The driver of the vehicle shall take any precaution necessary, including bringing the vehicle to a stop, to avoid injuring or endangering the pedestrian. This is a summary offense and in punishable by a fine of not less than $50 nor more than $150.
The Prohibiting Use of Hearing Impairment Devices law prohibits any driver from wearing headphones while behind the wheel. The section does not prohibit the use of a headset in conjunction with a cellphone that provides sound through one ear and allows surrounding sounds to be heard with the other. Wearing headphones while behind the wheel limits the driver's ability to hear sirens belonging to emergency responders.
Title 75, Section 3112 under Traffic Control Signals dictates laws surrounding traffic lights. As part of a 2016 amendment, the law includes instruction on what may be done if a driver believes the traffic light is not functioning properly. This includes when the light's sensor does not detect the vehicle. In this case, drivers are instructed to stop in the same manner as they would at a stop sign and proceed when it is safe to do so.
The Unattended Motor Vehicle law limits where a vehicle may be left running and unattended. The law states that a person may not leave a vehicle unattended while the engine is running or while the key is in the ignition. The law, however, does not apply to private property such as private driveways.
The agencies also reminded drivers to always wear a seatbelt and to never drive while impaired.
For more information on highway safety, readers may visit www.PennDOT.gov/safety. Readers may join the conversation on social media using #PATrafficLaw on Twitter and Facebook.
Organization Holds Memorial Service May 10, 2018
The Fraternal Order of Police (F.O.P.) recently held its 25th annual memorial service at the Forum Auditorium in downtown Harrisburg. Members of law enforcement, their families, and local elected officials were in attendance. Gov. Tom Wolf offered remarks in tribute to members of law enforcement who have given their lives while serving.
The Central Dauphin High School singers performed, and the Capitol Police F.O.P. Lodge 85 and Harrisburg City Police, F.O.P. Lodge 12, served as the color guard. The service included a remembrance for four fallen officers: Deputy Sheriff Scott Alan Moyer of the Lehigh County Sheriff's Office, Officer Shawn D. Rager of the Johnstown Police Department, Trooper Michael Paul Stewart III from the Pennsylvania State Police, and Officer Brian David Shaw of the New Kensington Police Department.
Wolf also remembered state Correctional Officer Mark J. Baserman in his remarks. The memorial service took place during National Correctional Officers Week, celebrated annually in the first full week of May to recognize and honor the work of correctional officers and personnel nationwide.
Board Recognizes Police, Community Members May 4, 2018
The West Hempfield Township board of supervisors presented its annual West Hempfield Township Police Department awards and commendations on May 1 at the board's regularly scheduled monthly meeting at the West Hempfield Township Municipal Building. The honorees were recognized for actions they had taken during 2017.
Officer Robert L. Small and Officer Karl J. Hartranft received the Life Saving Award. The award is given to individuals whose actions prevented the death of a person or persons. On Aug. 25, 2017, officers were dispatched to the Mainstay Hotel on Primrose Lane in West Hempfield Township, where a person intended to take his own life. Small and Hartranft evacuated the surrounding area and protected other emergency responders while attempting to talk to the individual. The officers successfully defused the situation, and the individual was transported to a local hospital for evaluation. Both Small and Hartranft are trained members of the Lancaster County Crisis Intervention Team.
West Hempfield Township Police Department Corporal Ryan P. Draper; Draper's wife, Erika Draper; and Officer William Ceravola from Reading Township Police Department also received West Hempfield Township Police Department's Life Saving Award. On March 27, 2017, Ryan and Erika were traveling across the Route 30 bridge between Columbia Borough and Hellam Township when they observed a vehicle stopped on the bridge and a female standing at the edge of the bridge. They stopped to investigate, as did Ceravola, who was in a separate vehicle and also noticed what was happening. The Drapers and Ceravola were able to remove the female from the edge of the bridge, and she was transported to a local hospital for evaluation. Draper is a trained member of the Lancaster County Crisis Intervention Team. Both he and Ceravola were off duty at the time of the incident.
Officer Richard Bowermaster Jr. of West Hempfield Township Police Department and Officer William Watt of East Hempfield Township Police Department received Commendation Awards. The Commendation Award is given to an officer for an outstanding act that involved performance above and beyond his or her basic assignment.
Watt and Bowermaster have been leaders in the Beards for Brothers Campaign, a local fund drive started by Watt. Since 2014, officers from across the county have raised money for local first responders and their families who are dealing with cancer or other debilitating disease or organizations that help these individuals and their families. Since 2014, a total of approximately $30,000 has been raised. Monies have gone to two different organizations and to a junior firefighter from West Hempfield Fire and Rescue and the daughter of a Lancaster City police officer, both of whom have rare diseases.
Corporals Douglas Ober and Ryan Draper also received Commendation Awards. On Jan. 30, 2017, officers were dispatched to the Union Community Bank, where a bank robbery had just occurred. A description of the subject was broadcast over the police radio. Ober and Draper were just returning to the station from a training class and responded while still in civilian clothing and in an unmarked police vehicle. Ober and Draper checked an area motel and determined the identity of the suspect. Further information led Ober and Draper to The Shoppes at Prospect, where they located the subject in a crowded restaurant. The subject was taken into custody without incident and with no other restaurant patrons being endangered.
Officer John J. Schwab received the Perfect Attendance Award, recognizing him for taking no time off during the 2017 calendar year for injury or illness. Additionally, he reported for his scheduled shifts on time and was prepared for duty.
The West Hempfield Township Police Department presented its Certificate of Appreciation to the Paul Revere Leber Post 372 of the American Legion and Buckeye Corrugated Inc. All-Size Division. The Certificate of Appreciation is awarded to citizens, organizations, or businesses that distinguish themselves through the accomplishment of an extraordinary act or service to the police department or to the community.
This year's honorees made significant contributions to the West Hempfield Township Police Department, enabling the department to purchase equipment, training supplies, community outreach and educational supplies, and first aid equipment and supplies to augment the department's current first aid supplies. The cost of these pieces of equipment and supplies were beyond the amount the department was able to budget for them in its 2018 expenditures.
Officer Michael P. Murray received the 2017 Officer of the Year Award. The award is given to an officer who distinguished himself or herself through either an accumulation of exceptional contributions or a single incident and whose actions clearly place the individual well above others of equal rank or grade. The individual must have represented the department in a favorable light and reflected the vision and mission statements in his or her daily actions.
Murray has been a member of the police department since January 2016. Since he started with the police department, he has been assigned to the B-1 Platoon in the patrol division. He was named Officer of the Year for distinguishing himself as a leader in his number of criminal arrests and in traffic enforcement; for displaying exceptional courage, fortitude, and resourcefulness during critical incidents; and for effectively testifying in numerous criminal prosecutions leading to successful convictions. He was also honored for having a positive attitude, promoting West Hempfield Township, and striving to enhance intradepartmental effectiveness by promoting public trust and confidence and a positive image of the department.
Additionally, four officers were recognized for their involvement in saving the lives of six individuals who overdosed on drugs and had to be administered naloxone. All individuals survived because the officers acted quickly and had naloxone on hand. The honorees were Murray, who was involved in two incidents; Schwab, also involved in two incidents; Ober; and Hartranft.
Earlier this year, the United States Marine Corps Reserve honored Corporal Douglas Ober, Officer Bart Hollis, and Officer Ben Johnson for their assistance with the 2017 Toys for Tots program.
Dayspring Holds Appreciation Dinner April 27, 2018
Dayspring Christian Academy's National Honor Society (NHS) members recently served community servants at the fourth annual NHS Community Appreciation Dinner.
The NHS members hosted the dinner event for the Mountville Borough Council and staff, Mountville Borough Authority and staff, Mountville Fire Department No. 1, West Hempfield Township Police Department, and local veterans. In attendance were the Mountville mayor, police and fire chiefs, a crossing guard, and local veterans, along with their immediate family members.
Dayspring's NHS students prepared a dinner and program for guests. They created and hosted the program, designed and prepared the meal, and served as the hospitality, setup, and cleanup crews. The program included choral and ukulele performances, an appreciation video featuring Dayspring students, a testimonial by Dayspring senior Emily Hilton, and two musical pieces performed by John and Gloria Hess, who are members of the Mountville community.
The Community Appreciation Dinner began four years ago with the name "Thank You Dinner" as the result of NHS students who desired to host an event in honor of local community servants. Approximately 13 attendees from Fire Company No. 1 were present at the first dinner. In 2018, there were about 45 participants including NHS student members.
Donna Hurley, NHS adviser at Dayspring Christian Academy, oversees the Community Appreciation Dinner.
Prescription Drug Take-Back Site Announced April 19, 2018
Garden Spot Village, 433 S. Kinzer Ave., New Holland, and the New Holland Police Department will provide a collection site at Garden Spot Village on National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, Saturday, April 28. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., community members may drop off expired, unwanted or unused prescription and over-the-counter medications for safe, secure disposal.
Pills, capsules, creams and liquids will be accepted, but syringes and other sharps will not. The event is free and anonymous. Participants may remove personal information from drug bottles or packages. A law enforcement officer will be present during the collection. Directional signs will be posted on campus.
National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is a program of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and its state and local law enforcement partners.
For more information, call Colleen Musselman at 717-355-6007 or Police Chief William Leighty at 717-354-4647.
Easter Bunny Visits Hospital April 4, 2018
For more than a decade, the Chester County Sheriff's Office has teamed up with Chester County Hospital and Easter Bunny Inc. to spread cheer via a visit by the Easter Bunny. This year's visit took place on March 29 and included appearances in the maternity, pediatric, and emergency wings. The bunny, portrayed for the first time by Deputy Josue Pifer, skipped down corridors and responded to requests to visit rooms.
Hospital volunteer Dennis Ayotte served as a guide for the bunny and Deputy Brian Carr also accompanied his colleague Pifer on the two-hour holiday detail. Chief among Carr's responsibilities were keeping the bunny hydrated and carrying a large basket overflowing with small stuffed rabbits and coloring books. According to Carr, the event offered a fun way to bring joy to those who would not be able to celebrate Easter at home this year.
One of the pair's first encounters was with Pifer's sister, Elizabeth Pifer, who was waiting in the hospital lobby with her 9-month-old son, Jaden Kopietz, when the Easter Bunny entourage arrived. She had made a special trip to the hospital to see her brother's bunny debut.
Sam and Eleanor Meiner founded Easter Bunny Inc. in 1995 to put a sparkle in children's eyes during the Easter season. The Florida couple, who received 501(c)(3) status for the program, realized that sheriff's offices could help them expand their reach. In 2004, they began soliciting partnerships at the National Sheriff's Association conference.
Thanks to the pitch, Chester County Sheriff Carolyn Bunny Welsh, whose grandfather's pet name for her as a child became her lifelong moniker, signed on to participate in 2005, receiving a free costume and stuffed bunnies to distribute.
Welsh eagerly awaits the annual event, but this year she was only able to participate in spirit, having undergone double knee replacement surgery at the hospital a month ago.
Grimasuckas Honored As Officer Of The Year February 22, 2018
Southern Regional Police Department (SRPD) has named Officer Charles "Grim" Grimasuckas as Officer of the Year for 2017. The award was presented at SRPD's annual Officers Appreciation Dinner sponsored by the Friends of the Southern Regional Police Department. Grimasuckas was honored for showning outstanding commitment to his job, family and community.
Grimasuckas had worked for the SRPD part time since 2009 while working at another Lancaster County police department full time. In June 2017, he left the other department and transitioned to full-time work at SRPD. After beginning to work with SRPD full time, he led the department in traffic citations and had the second greatest number of driving under the influence arrests. He is also among the leaders in criminal arrests.
In November 2017, Grimasuckas was credited with his lifesaving efforts on a male who was in cardiac arrest due to a drug overdose. Grimasuckas arrived on the scene and quickly applied an AED to the unconscious man. While the AED was processing, Grimasuckas searched the subject's vehicle and found evidence of drug use. He administered a dose of naloxone, after which the male began breathing on his own and ultimately regained consciousness.
In October 2017, Grimasuckas and other bystanders worked to apply a tourniquet to a severely injured motorcyclist after a crash on Marticville Road. Doctors credited the use of a tourniquet with saving the woman's life.
In December 2017, Grimasuckas worked with an anonymous donor to obtain 30 new bicycles for children in a Pequea Township neighborhood.
Organization Thanks First Responders February 15, 2018
Columbia-Middletown Elks 1074 hosted a dinner in honor of Columbia's first responders to thank them for their daily sacrifices. The Columbia Borough Police Department, Columbia Borough Fire Department, Columbia EMS and Susquehanna Valley EMS were honored at the event on Feb. 10 at the Columbia Borough Fire Department.
Attendees were treated to a barbecue dinner, music by disc jockey Mike Nikolaus and a slideshow presentation by police officer Holly Oster, featuring pictures of the four organizations. Mayor Leo Lutz and several council members recognized the sacrifices of the first responders.
Judge David L. Ashworth was the guest speaker. He spoke about the Lancaster County Drug Court and the overuse of opioids. Ashworth is on his second 10-year term with the Lancaster County Court of Common Pleas and also serves as a senior adjunct professor at Franklin and Marshall College and a drug court technical consultant with the Federal Bureau of Justice Assistance.
Police Department Takes Pledge February 9, 2018
The East Hempfield Township Police Department has pledged to take action in support of the International Association of Chiefs of Police's One Mind Campaign. The intent is to unite local communities, public safety organizations, and mental health organizations in such a way that the three become "of one mind."
The local department is one of the first in Pennsylvania to have taken the pledge and will likely be one of the first to complete the components. Trainings took place all day on Feb. 6 and 13.
The One Mind Campaign seeks to ensure successful interactions between police officers and persons with mental illness. To join the campaign, the department has committed to implementing four promising practices over a time frame of 12 to 36 months: establishing a clearly defined and sustainable partnership with one or more community mental health organizations, developing and implementing a model policy addressing police response to persons affected by mental illness, training and certifying 100 percent of the agency's sworn officers in Mental Health First Aid for Public Safety, and providing Crisis Intervention Team training to a minimum of 20 percent of the agency's sworn officers.
For more information on the One Mind Campaign, readers may visit http://www.theiacp.org/onemindcampaign. A copy of the full report, "Improving Police Response to Persons Affected by Mental Illness"; links to additional resources; and a list of all agencies that have taken the pledge are also available on the website.
Sheriff Receives Public Service Award January 24, 2018
Citing a long and distinguished career of outreach, the Exton Region Chamber of Commerce (ERCC) bestowed the 2017 Sen. Robert J. Thompson Public Service Award on Chester County Sheriff Carolyn Bunny Welsh on Jan. 9. More than 100 people attended, including all three county commissioners.
State Rep. Becky Corbin, a past recipient, presented the award at the ERCC annual Review Luncheon at the Desmond Hotel and Conference Center in Malvern. She explained that Thompson, a former state senator, had set the bar high during his 30-year career while maintaining a sense of humor often punctuated by Snoopy neckties and red suspenders.
Corbin detailed Welsh's achievements, including her election as the first female sheriff in Chester County and her leadership roles with state and national law enforcement agencies. Corbin described community initiatives such as "Shop with the Sheriff," a program that annually brightens the holidays for 100 elementary school students, and a recent effort that delivered thousands of pounds of relief supplies to hurricane victims in multiple states.
Jeannie McGinn, an ERCC member, submitted Welsh's nomination for the award, and the ERCC board voted unanimously.
Welsh said that the award was special because of her personal connections to Thompson. She expressed gratitude to Thompson and to her office, including her 95 employees, both deputies and civilians. Responsibilities of the Sheriff's Office include serving civil papers, transporting prisoners, overseeing firearms permits, apprehending fugitives, and maintaining security at the county's government buildings.
In addition to the Sen. Robert J. Thompson Public Service Award, Welsh received citations from the Chester County Board of Commissioners, the state Senate, and the state House of Representatives. Chester County Commissioners' Chair Michelle Kichline, who presented the commissioners' citation, called Welsh a mentor as well as an inspiration to other women in public service.
During the luncheon, Laurie Kerkering, ERCC's president, explained that Thompson helped ensure the construction of the Exton Bypass, a decades-long process that represented the foresight of a group of Exton businesspeople who created the ERCC.
Welsh, the 10th recipient of the Thompson award, has served as Chester County sheriff since January 2000. She is active in many community organizations, including the Rotary Club of West Chester. She is vice president of the Chester County Hero Fund and serves on the boards of the Chester County Family Academy, the Pennsylvania Leadership Charter School, the National Flag Foundation, and the Chester County Industrial Development Authority.
Thompson, who died in 2006, served the 19th Senatorial District from 1995 to 2006. Prior to that, he was a Chester County commissioner from 1979 until 1986. Thompson was a resident of West Goshen and was a West Goshen Township supervisor. He served as the founding executive director of the Chester County Chamber of Commerce. His community service also included the boards of the Chester County Historical Society, the Westtown-Goshen Rotary Club, the West Chester Area Day Care Association, and SEPTA.
Artist Turns Gratitude Into A Fundraiser For The Force January 12, 2018
The bucolic scene of sheep grazing in front of the 1719 Hans Herr House as imagined by local artist Roy Peters offers no hint as to the trauma that prompted its creation.
On April 15, 2016, Peters was finishing a project in his West Lampeter Township home when the table saw kicked back and pulled his left hand into the blade. His wife, Miriam, called 911, and West Lampeter Township Police Department Cpl. Jeremy Schroeder responded almost immediately, as the couple lives just a few miles from the township's municipal office.
"The car door opened even before the car stopped completely, and (Cpl.) Schroeder jumped out with a tourniquet," Peters recalled. "He reassured me with his confidence and words of concern as he tended to my injury. He knew he had the tourniquet and was empowered to use it."
When Peters was transported to the hospital, the staff members were impressed by the device used to stanch the flow of blood.
"'That's a military tourniquet! How did you get that?'" Peters recalled one person asking.
The combat application tourniquets - 13 in all - were purchased for the police department by the Friends of the Force in December 2014 at the request of Chief Brian Wiczkowski. The chief had researched the devices and considered their purchase a wise investment.
"We carry them with us," Wiczkowski said, pulling a tourniquet out of a cargo pocket on his uniform pants. "The intent was to have them and never have to use them."
Peters has been the only person who has required deployment of a tourniquet thus far. Although he lost parts of two fingers, he did not lose his life, and he is deeply grateful. As a demonstration of his gratitude, Peters painted a view of the Herr House and donated it to the Friends of the Force, who are offering it for sale in a silent auction. The proceeds will be used by the group to purchase items for the police department.
Recently, the Friends group paid for another year of online training for the department's officers, and the group is also financially supporting the transition to an electronic records management system. Additionally, the Friends purchased equipment that facilitated the department's participation in a new crash team comprised of police departments from East Lampeter Township, East and West Hempfield townships, Manor Township, and Columbia.
"As much as we try to plan ahead, a lot of these things come up, and they're not budgeted for," Wiczkowski remarked. "(Regarding the tourniquet purchase), sure, you can wait, but at what cost?"
"I'm glad you didn't wait," Peters responded.
The donated painting, which features the oldest homestead in Lancaster County, measures 12 inches by 24 inches and is framed. It may be viewed at the municipal office, 852 Village Road, Lampeter, during business hours through Monday, July 3, and from Monday, July 17, to Monday, July 31. It will be displayed at Darrenkamp's, 106 Willow Valley Square, Lancaster, from Thursday, July 6, to Friday, July 14, and at the Friends' booth during National Night Out at the Lampeter Fairgrounds on Tuesday, Aug. 1.
Bids may be submitted via the contact form at www.friendsoftheforce.com through Aug. 1. Final bids may be placed in person only at National Night Out and then only until 7 p.m., after which the winning bid will be announced.
Peters invites other local artists to follow his example by contributing artwork for Friends of the Force fundraising efforts. Interested individuals may contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
EMS Plans Food Drive January 12, 2018
Northwest EMS is accepting donations for the local food banks that are located in its primary response area.
The food drive will run through February, and donations will be accepted at Northwest EMS station locations at 380 W. Bainbridge St., Elizabethtown; 188 Rock Point Road, Maytown; and 60 W. Colebrook St., Manheim.
Suggested items include peanut butter, canned fruit or vegetables, canned soups, foods for those with special dietary restrictions (low sugar/sodium), bottled juice, applesauce, pasta, canned meats, crackers, and rice.
For details, call Lori Shenk at 717-371-8282.
Fundraiser Supports Officer's Brother December 1, 2017
Northwest Regional Police Department, 8855 Elizabethtown Road, Elizabethtown, has announced that fellow officers of Officer Seth Arnold decided to take part in No-Shave November, a fundraiser that was held throughout the month of November. The officers were required to donate and/or get sponsors to donate in order to be permitted to grow a beard, which is normally prohibited by department policy.
Proceeds raised benefited Seth's brother, 29-year-old Erik Arnold, who was diagnosed with a brain tumor earlier this year. The purpose of the fundraiser was to help lessen the financial, physical, and emotional impact on Erik.
Officer Gavin Kline organized the effort with other officers, including Chief Mark Mayberry, taking part in the effort by donating and growing a beard. As of Nov. 29, the total amount raised was almost $1,400.
For additional information, readers may contact Kline at 717-689-5657, ext. 120, or the Northwest Regional Police Department at 717-689-5657 and ask to speak with any officer.
Deputies Complete Motorcycle Training November 1, 2017
Two members of the Chester County Sheriff's Office recently completed an intensive, two-week, motorcycle training course, graduating at the top of their class.
Deputy Jeffrey DiVito and Deputy Peter Gardner logged the highest scores on the final exam of the 80-hour course, which was designed by Northwestern University. Certified instructors staffed the program at the Philadelphia Police Training Bureau.
The course offered a grueling regimen that offered both physical and mental challenges. The deputies, both of whom own motorcycles and have years of riding experience, spent hours daily navigating an obstacle course on motorcycles that weighed twice as much as the ones they were used to riding. The program consisted of more than half a dozen exercises in precision that involved slow course riding - about 4 mph - with emphasis on high-speed braking and evasive maneuvers. Other skills that were covered included negotiating curves, managing hazardous conditions, and handling car stops.
Course participants needed to achieve a 75 percent on the final exam in order to pass. Gardner scored a 96, and DiVito scored a 90. DiVito and Gardner were slated to join the Chester County Sheriff's Wheels Unit, a detail that requires duties that range from toy runs to funeral escorts.
Walk To School Initiative Announced October 3, 2017
The Township of Derry, Derry Township Police Department and Derry Township School District (DTSD) will promote Walk to School Day on Wednesday, Oct. 4. The goal of Walk to School Day is to encourage students, parents, teachers, and community leaders to walk to school and work every day.
New this year, students and their parents may participate in Walk With a Cop to School. Attendees may meet a Derry Township police officer at the tennis courts on Areba Avenue or at Memorial Field and learn safe walking tips while they get some exercise. To underscore the link between exercise and good nutrition habits, participating students will receive a healthful snack of apple slices as they arrive at school.
As an incentive to participate in Walk to School Day, any DTSD student who pledges to walk or bike to school on Oct. 4 will have opportunities to win prizes donated by local individuals, merchants, companies, and organizations. To be eligible for prizes, students and a parent or guardian should complete the survey at www.surveymonkey.com/r/Y6RZGZW.
Families who live too far to walk or bicycle to school and families with limited safe routes for walking and bicycling may still participate. Prior to the event, these participants should pick a place to park within a safe walking or bicycling distance of the school. On Oct. 4, these individuals may drive part of the way to school, park, and then safely make their way to school.
Walk to School Day is part of an international effort to raise awareness of the need to create safer routes for bicycling and walking and emphasize the importance of issues such as increasing physical activity among children, pedestrian safety, crosswalk enforcement, reducing traffic congestion and concern for the environment. In 2013, Derry Township participated in a Safe Routes to School Audit and is continuing to implement recommended improvements to make walking and bicycling safer and easier.
For additional information, readers may visit www.walkbiketoschool.org or www.saferoutesinfo.org.