HPD visits Helena Summer Reading Program

By GRAHAM BROOKS / Staff Writer

HELENA–Children who visited the Helena Summer Reading Program on Wednesday, July 11, had a special visit from two members of the Helena Police Department as they came away with knowledge on safety and the job police officers do to keep the community safe.

Helena Police Sgt. Michael Johnson and officer Murphy showed up to the summer reading program to explain the duties of their jobs, who to call during an emergency, the different equipment available on the uniform they wear and more.

Murphy explained how they cover a wide range of calls to help keep the community safe including emergency calls, helping find lost or stolen property, working vehicle accidents and more.

“We wear the same uniforms every day to help you know who we are and to show that we’re police officers,” Murphy said.

On the uniform, they showed the children the badges they wear, a body camera, dispatch radio, extra ammunition, flashlight, mace spray, a tourniquet and more.

Once the demonstration was complete, the officers got a volunteer from the crowd to put on a swat vest to show how heavy the vest can be when worn.

Sgt. Johnson has been with the department since 2001 and said his favorite thing about visiting the program was to help children understand that police are on their side.

“The main thing is to show them and reiterate that we’re the good guys that they can run to when they’re in need of help,” Johnson said.

To round out the visit, children came out to the front of city hall to take a look at one of the Helena Police cruisers. Children heard the sirens and got their pictures made on the inside of the vehicle.

After the visit, Johnson said there are things parents can discuss with their children at home regarding safety and the police.

“Just be able to discuss safety and dealing with strangers and know to not talk to anyone you don’t know,” Johnson said.

The Helena Summer Reading Program will last one more week as participants will be eligible for prizes the more books they read. The summer reading closeout celebration featuring musician Jim Aycock will be on Wednesday, July 18 at 2:30 p.m. at Helena City Hall.