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Safety first: Kids consider police officer vs. firefighter

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Frank Schultz
August 26, 2012

— Police officer or firefighter?

A quick survey of kids at a police/fire fair in Whitewater on Saturday showed a clear preference for—surprise—the cops.

The occasion for the survey was the Whitewater Safety Experience, put on by the city’s police and fire departments and rescue squad on Saturday.

Whitewater Police Chief Lisa Otterbacher thought the popular opinion might lean toward the guys with the big, shiny trucks.

“If you’re strong and OK with not always being popular,” then you might make a good police officer, Otterbacher said.

Alex Martin, 7, thought police are best.

“They’re trained better, and they have smaller cars, so they can see better,” Alex said.

But Alex sort of had to say that. Her mom is a Whitewater cop. Her dad is a Walworth County sheriff’s deputy.

Andrew O’Toole, 5, preferred police, too. His reason? “Because.”

Andrew repeated that answer three times. He was sure.

Callie and Chloe Sahr, 5 and 6, respectively, had divided opinions, even though their mom is a police clerk.

Callie would prefer to be a cop, “because they get to arrest people.”

Chloe likes firefighters, “because they put the fires out, and they care and help you.”

Lake Geneva 14-year-olds Devyn Mumford and Sierra Haynes both would prefer to be cops.

“I like to investigate stuff,” Devyn said.

“There’s a lot more action,” Sierra said.

EMT Dawn Kiernan of the Whitewater Rescue Squad was not bashful about naming her preference: “EMT, by far. People like us. We’re here to help you.”

On the other hand, “the police officers we work with are really, really good people. They’re so helpful. So it’s kind of hard to say which is better,” Kiernan said.

Otterbacher said the Whitewater Safety Experience was designed to get children and their parents more involved with hands-on activities.

Kids were able to aim a small fire hose, lift fingerprints, learn bicycle safety and learn what happens when they dial 911.

Otterbacher is trying to raise money to get her department a drug-sniffing and people-tracking dog, so she arranged for a demonstration by the Cedarburg Police Department’s K-9 unit, Brian Emmrich and Jake.

Jake, an affable black Labrador retriever, showed his prowess in finding bags of marijuana, heroin, ecstasy and methamphetamine. He also was a hit with the kids.

“It pays for itself,” Emmrich said of the K-9 program. “Jake’s the best PR representative our city has. Everybody knows him.”


 

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