Capt. Gary Owens would love to see daisies lining the streets, but not the kind you grow.
The daisies he'd like to see symbolize the Grovetown Department of Public Safety's newest initiative - Safe House.
Each volunteer in the program, called block parents, would display a sign with a red daisy on it on the front of their home to represent a safe place for people in need.
"It is primarily for children, but it can be used for everything," said Sgt. Mike Freeman, who suggested the idea because he had seen similar programs work in other cities. "It can be used for the elderly or anyone else in need. They know where to go, and they go somewhere that is safe. It is a safe haven for them."
The program, which only applies to Grovetown city residents, was introduced during National Night Out on Aug. 5, and Freeman recently presented it to the Parent-Teacher Organizations of Grovetown and Euchee Creek elementary schools.
Grovetown Department of Public Safety Sgt. Michael Freeman fastens a Safe House sign to a house in the Willowick subdivision.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
"We are thrilled. It is awesome," Grovetown Elementary principal Robert Boyd said, adding that the PTO at his school was very supportive and receptive to the idea.
Boyd also saw a similar program work well, though for no major incident. Mostly, it came in handy for when a child wrecked his bike and ended up with a bloody knee and needed to call a parent, said Boyd, who sent out flyers to parents and included an article about the program in the school's newsletter.
"We're supporting it in every way we can," he said.
When people volunteer to be a block parent, they go through a FBI background and fingerprint check to ensure responsible people hold the positions, Freeman said. Any police officers living inside the city limits are automatically included and 21 others have applied.
Patrol officers have a current list of who is a block parent, so if anyone tries to duplicate the sign, the officers will notice while on their beat, which is one of the advantages of a small city, Owens said.
"There's always a need, but actually we want to be more preventative," Owens said. "Sgt. Freeman worked up this idea as another way to help the community, another way we can be more pro-active rather than reactive."
Boyd said he eventually would like to see a block parent within shouting distance of every bus stop.
"If one little girl or boy that wrecks a bike can go up and make a phone call and get back home in a timely safe fashion, the program is a success," Boyd said. "The police can't be everywhere at one time."
For more information about the program or to apply, call Freeman at 863-1212.
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