Law Enforcement Agencies Partner for Fifth Annual Event
Music and children’s laughter filled the air as the 5th Annual Child Safety Day was underway at the Village at Leesburg on August 6. Children and parents alike navigated the different booths and activities set up to inform county residents about the resources available to keep children and the community safe.
The event was inspired by Erica Smith, a 14-year-old Loudoun County resident who was abducted and murdered in 2002. Her case remains unsolved.
William and Pamela Smith had a booth at the event, honoring their daughter and educating the community about potential dangers. Parents aren’t always aware of who their children are interacting with, especially when it comes to older friends of friends who could be preying on younger children, Pamela Smith said.
“So that’s why I always say, parents need to know not just the initial circle of their friends, but they need to know the circles of the circles of the friends so that they know their child is safe at all times,” she said.
Now in its fifth year, the Child Safety Day event draws thousands of people out, where children can learn about potential dangers, how agencies like the Leesburg Police Department, Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office and Loudoun County Fire and Rescue can help them, and where parents can learn preventative measures to keep their children safe.
“We wanted to remind people of the importance of what they can do to help protect their children, to keep their children safe,” Sheriff Mike Chapman said. “We’re very happy for the participation and all the kids out here enjoying the day.”
Children learned about tactical gear; explored ambulances, police cars and motorcycles, and firetrucks; and could play games, color, meet a K-9 officer, and win prizes. Community resources such as Child Protective Services, Child Advocacy Center, Loudoun Abused Women’s Shelter, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and INOVA Pediatrics also had booths with information about their services.
Ed Williams, the Loudoun First Responder CEO, was also honored during the event with the third Sheriff’s Office Leadership Award for his impact on the public safety community.
Loudoun First Responders provides funds for first responders injured on the job or injured in a non-related incident that affects their ability to work. The organization also provides scholarships for the children of first responders, Williams said.
“My job’s very simple, I write checks,” Williams said while accepting the award. “So I enjoy the fact that I can help first responders in their time of need.”