By Libby Smith
GOLDEN, Colo (CBS4) – For 8 years, the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office has put on a Safety Fair to provide the community with important health, wellness, and safety information. It’s a great place to do your annual safety check, and pick up valuable information that may prevent you or your family members from becoming a victim.
“The responsibility of a District Attorney is to ensure public safety, and we do that obviously by aggressively prosecuting those people who are predators and hurting other people, but preventing crime and keeping the community safe really fits into what the responsibilities are,” said Peter Weir, the District Attorney in Jefferson County.
One of the highlights of the fair is the bicycle rodeo, where children ride a bike through a cone course and learn the rules of the road from a police officer. The Lutheran Hospital Foundation provides free bike helmets to participants.
“We always have bicycles brought out by the Golden Optimists Club, they don’t want those back. They want the officers and the people to find some needy children who can take those bikes home at the end of the day,” said Cary Johnson, crime prevention educator for the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office.
“What is really neat to watch is law enforcement’s engagement with the kids. Sometimes our exposure to law enforcement is they’ve pulled us over and are issuing a traffic ticket. This way you get to scratch a little deeper, you get to really see who these men and women are,” Weir added about the bicycle rodeo.
Another important safety message for children comes from CHEEZO, who is always at the Safety Fair. CHEEZO teaches lessons about keeping children and teens safe on the internet and social media.
“With all the benefits that our modern society affords kids, there are inherent dangers associated with that. We certainly see that with respect to social media, there are wonderful things that we receive through the social media, but there are folks out there that are lurking, and they may very well be looking for victims and we don’t want our children to be victims,” Weir told CBS4.
With more than 80 booths and displays, the Safety Fair is the perfect place for the entire family to get a safety check-up.
“They can go through the kids’ things, the bicycle rodeo, and getting kids ID kits, and picking up all the safety information for children. Then they can get inside and Mom and Dad can begin doing their safety check. They can get identity theft prevention information from the Colorado Bureau of Investigations, from other law enforcement. They can talk to fire about home safety. They can talk to State Wildlife about how to co-exist with some of our creatures out there. Then we have a whole row of just senior related tables as well. Grandma and Grandpa can check to see if they’re getting all their veterans benefits from the VA. They can talk to Volunteers of America, who comes out with their handyman program, and will make adjustments in a home so people can age in place better,“ said Johnson.
Colorado is on track right now to have the most traffic fatalities since 2008. Many of those crashes are caused by distracted driving, so the Colorado State Patrol will have its distracted driving simulator set up at the Safety Fair. People can try their hand at driving while texting in a safe environment.
“We’re going to go ahead and have a little segment of the Safety Fair where we also have a teen driving safety booth. We’ll have Mothers Against Drunk Drivers. We have someone else bringing out another distracted driving technique, but it’s very different from the State Patrol. So we’ll have several booths that talk about safe driving because it seems to becoming a bigger problem,” Johnson explained.
In addition to information booths, there are interactive displays. There is a fire truck, vintage police cruiser, and a boat for discussing boating safety. This year for the first time, there will also be a medivac helicopter. That’s not the only first at this year’s fair.
“The District Attorney’s Office for the first time is having a booth on human trafficking because it is such a big problem and yet one that the community is still really learning about…the dynamics of that,” Johnson told CBS4.
Then there are the old favorites. You can have up to 5 boxes of personal documents shredded, and you can drop off unneeded prescription drugs.
“We want to see that they are disposed of properly and there’s not a chance for them to end up on the street,” Johnson said.
The Jefferson County District Attorney’s Safety Fair is Saturday, Aug. 13 from 9a.m. to 1p.m. at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds. The entire community is invited.
Libby Smith is a Special Projects Producer at CBS4. If you have a story you’d like to tell CBS4 about, call 303-863-TIPS (8477) or visit the News Tips section.