Partnership Between Police Department and Hospital Rewards Safe Behavior
As the weather gets nicer, many will be out biking, boarding, or blading, and those being safe while doing so might get rewarded. This summer, if an officer from Marshfield Police Department catches a child or teenager being safe (by using helmet, pads, lights, etc), they will receive a treat sponsored by local businesses and Ministry St Joseph’s Hospital as part of the Caught Being Safe program.
A nationwide campaign, the Caught Being Safe program was brought to Marshfield as a partnership between the Marshfield Police Department and St. Joseph’s Hospital and is celebrating its second year in Marshfield.
“The program involves officers rewarding children for making safe decisions and displaying safe behaviors in our community, such as wearing a bicycle helmet,” said Liz Kracht, Injury Prevention Coordinator at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Marshfield. “Officers will be handing out coupons for various treats to young bicyclists they see displaying such behaviors.”
“It’s our goal to do it a little bit more this year, be a little more active with it,” said Police Chief Rick Gramza. “It promotes safety, and not necessarily among just youth, but also teens.”
With studies showing that wearing a bicycle helmet can reduce the risk of head injury by as much as 85%, it’s a great safety measure to take. Both entities enjoy promoting safe behavior.
“It’s nice to reward people when we see them proactively being safe,” said Gramza, adding that the mission of “Caught Being Safe” ties in well with the department’s goal of creating a safer community.
Officers have coupons in their vehicles and when they spot a child, or a family, being safe, they can stop and distribute those coupons. In addition, for those that may not be able to afford a helmet, the officers will have helmets in their vehicles that they may give to youth in need.
Not only is the program great for promoting safety, it also is a good opportunity for officers to engage with the community.
“I think it’s good community relations,” said Gramza. “There is value to the community when partnerships happen, like when the Police Department is able to partner with places like the hospital and other food vending businesses to promote the same general cause. It’s kind of just a community win.”
Local businesses that have donated to the program include McDonald’s, Culver’s, Arby’s, Chip’s, Dairy Queen, and Hub City Ice Cream.