Bellevue plans Safety Town for special needs adults

BELLEVUE — Bellevue Police Department is offering programs for adults and children with developmental disabilities.

Sgt. Keith Jesse said the department is offering its first Safety Town for adults with special needs. The program is to be 6-8 p.m. Wednesdays in February in city council chambers.

The program is to include information about finances and fire, personal and street safety.

Jesse said it will include role plays. People are to learn about communication skills and getting out of a situation with a stranger.

Jesse said the idea for the program came from watching the movie “Where Hope Grows.” One of the characters has Down syndrome and works in the produce department of a grocery store.

The character, called “Produce,” helps a baseball player change his life.

Jesse said it is a neat movie and made him start thinking.

“(The actor) lives with his family,” he said.

Jesse said his goal is to help the special needs population realize police care and want to help them and make sure they’re safe.

“I’ll be happy with whatever (number of participants) I get. … (I’ll) see how it goes,” he said.

The first youth version of the program is to be offered in July and is open to children in kindergarten through third grade.

Youths with special needs are to learn about fire prevention, transportation, and gun and poison safety. They are to take a bus ride and learn about a police cruiser.

“They’ll be invited back year after year,” Jesse said.

The adult and youth programs are free, he said.

In December, the police department offered a visit with Santa for adults and children with special needs. Jesse said he was told it was the first time a child had gotten his photograph taken with Santa.

For more information, contact Jesse at kjesse or call (419) 706-4013. Call the police department at (419) 483-4444.