Just 4 Kidz
Hello, and welcome! You may have had a visit from a police officer at home or school, or you may have seen a police officer working. The information below will show you why and how we do things. We also want to share with you things you can do to stay safe.
Police officers live in homes like yours and some of us even have children your age. Just like your mom or dad, when we wake up, we get ready for work by putting on work clothes. Our work clothing is a police uniform. Our uniform has a patch on the shoulders to show where we work. We also wear a police badge to show we are the police.
Tallahassee Police Department Uniform Patch and Badge - On our patch (see image at right), the picture is of the State Capitol dome and the flags of the United States and Florida.
Our badge (see image at far right) has an eagle showing our allegiance to the United States of America. The eagle's wings are spread to show we are covered by the laws and freedoms that the American eagle represents. The outside edge of the badge is covered by olive branches, which symbolize peace. The center has the State of Florida Seal. It is required to be displayed on our badge by a special law and shows we are governed by the laws of the State of Florida.
The Tallahassee Police Department started way back in 1841. It is one of the oldest Police forces in America. That was over 165 years ago.
Our uniform also has a very long history. Navy was chosen as the color because a long time ago lots of police were needed very quickly and there wasn't a lot of time to make new uniforms. Many soldiers had just gotten out of military service, including the Navy. So they used their military uniforms that were made of navy colored boiled wool. Their jackets had big pockets that helped them hold their police tools. These jackets also had bright shiny buttons and badges made of copper. That is why police were called "coppers," which today is shortened to "cops." Pictured to the immediate right is an old photograph of a Tallahassee police officer showing off his copper buttons and badge.
The formal uniform we wear today is pictured on the right. The stars and bars worn on the sleeve represent how long someone has been a police officer. The marks count as: five years for every star, and two years for every bar. This tradition is also from the military uniform.
How Police Get Around Town
Police officers need to be able to go anywhere in town and face any situation. To help us get where we need to go and have everything we need to do their job, Police use cars, buses, trucks, bicycles, motorcycles and more. We have special vehicles that help us respond to dangerous situations and emergencies. We even have a vehicle that looks like a tank that can drive off of the road and keep us very safe.
To help us get to where we are needed, police departments have Public Safety Communications Operators, that we call "dispatchers.". Dispatchers take phone calls and give police officers directions and who to meet by radio and by computer. They have to know a lot about computers. We also have to know a lot about helping people on the telephone.
Tools and Technology
Police use lots of tools, including computers. Some police officers use computers inside the Police Station. Some police officers use computers in their cars. We also use radios, and lots of tools we carry on our belts. One of the tools we carry on our belt is a gun. Our guns are tools we use to protect us and other people. Police also have clothes and gear that keep us safe, including helmets, bullet proof vests, special masks and camaflouge clothing.
We have special lights and sirens on our cars and trucks to let people know when we have an emergency, or when we want them to stop and talk to us. Even our motorcycles have lights and sirens. People should always pull over to make way when our lights are flashing and our siren is making noise. The people we pull over are strangers to us, so we have to be very careful.
We hope you are careful around strangers, too. A stranger is someone you don't know or who you don't know well. Even someone you may see every day is a stranger because you don't know them well. Never accept gifts from strangers and never go anywhere with a stranger. Talk to your mom or dad on what you should do in different situations to stay safe.
What You Need to Know About 9-1-1
An emergency is when someone's life is in danger. You and your parents should make a plan so that everyone in your family knows what to do when emergencies happen. The more you practice, the more you will be ready if you find yourself in an emergency.
People can call 9-1-1 for emergencies. You can also use 9-1-1 if you are lost. Here are some tips on how to use 9-1-1:
- 9-1-1 is the number to call if you have an emergency. Have an adult show you how to dial the telephone.
- Some older phones have dials instead of buttons. If your phone looks like this, or if you stay at grandmas and her phone looks like this, have an adult teach you how to use it.
- You should also learn how to use a cell phone if your family has one
- Call 9-1-1 only for an emergency. Never call for a joke.
- Be ready to give your name, address, and telephone number. Tell the person who answers what is wrong. We are there to help. Follow their instructions and don't hang up unless we tell you to.
- You can call 9-1-1 if you see a fire.
- You can call 9-1-1 if you see an accident.
- You can call 9-1-1 if you see a crime.
- You can call 9-1-1 if somebody is very sick or hurt.
- Remember - call 9-1-1 and we will send you help!
- Remember - its okay to call 9-1-1 if you are lost, you can use a payphone if you see one, you don't need money to call 9-1-1
If you like to do things on the computer, talk about computer safety with your parents. Everyone has rules to follow on the Internet. Here are some Internet Safety tips.
- Never give out personal information on the Internet. Don't share your real name, where you live, where you go to school or anything about your family.
- It is best not to talk to strangers, just like when you're at the park or in a store. Someone may pretend to be someone he or she is not.
- Don't agree to meet anyone you've talked to on-line. Tell your parents if an on-line friend wants to get together so your parents know all about it.
- If you fill out a personal profile that other kids can read on line, don't write anything that says too much about you. You may think only your friends can see it, but strangers can find out about you, too.
- Log off immediately if you see or read something that upsets you. Tell your parents or a teacher if something like that happens.
- Protect your password. No one should ever ask you for it for any reason.
- Don't buy anything over the Internet without your parent's approval. Don't give out a credit card number without your parent's knowledge.
- Never post or send pictures over the Internet unless your parents know about it.
- Ask your parent's permission to visit a chat room.
- Remember that people online may not be who they say they are. Someone who says that "she" is a "12-year-old girl" could really be an older adult.
- Additional information about online safety may be found at the Net Smartz Kids website.