College of Justice & Safety, Lexington Police Collaborate to Reopen Safety City

photo from ribbon cutting

Safety is serious business, but it will also soon be a lot of fun, thanks to the reopening of Safety City, a joint effort of the Lexington Division of Police and Eastern Kentucky University’s College of Justice & Safety.

The kid-sized town, created for the purpose of teaching children life-saving skills, hosted its grand re-opening and ribbon cutting on Wednesday, Oct. 15.

Lexington Mayor Jim Gray, Lexington Police Chief Ronnie Bastin and EKU President Michael Benson, among other city and University officials, were on hand for the ceremonies. Following the ribbon cutting, an inaugural drive of the Safety City course was completed by third-grade students from Mary Todd Elementary School.

Located at 1160 Red Mile Place in Lexington, Safety City originally opened in 1990. Until it suspended full operations in 2009, the program taught thousands of children about: road, car, personal and stranger-related safety.

Lexington Police Chief Ronnie Bastin is excited to see the program operational again.

“Safety City will provide educational safety programs for second- and third-grade students that are not available elsewhere in the community,” said Bastin. “A tremendous amount of time and labor has gone into renovating the property and making preparations for this day.”

Safety City features include a life-like roadway (complete with traffic signals), buildings, restaurants and, naturally, a police station.

Second- and third-grade students will be taught a diverse safety curriculum throughout the school year during visits to the Safety City facility. The curriculum includes road safety, traffic rules, seatbelt safety, stranger-danger safety and internet safety.

EKU College of Justice & Safety Dean Dr. Allen Ault sees the reopening of Safety City as a great opportunity to prepare, protect and teach personal safety skills to tomorrow’s leaders.

“It is hoped that the safety skills learned as a child will be an ingrained habit by adulthood,” Ault said.

Officials with the EKU College of Justice & Safety will oversee the administrative functions of the program.

Mayor Jim Gray applauded the collaboration between EKU and the Division of Police as an example of a productive partnership.

“Safety City is a shining example of how people and organizations with like minds can take a great idea and make it a reality by working together,” Gray said.

Published on October 16, 2014

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