Ripon police, school district team up to give away 200 free gun lock kits

Published: Dec. 18, 2020 at 4:18 PM CST
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RIPON, Wis. (WBAY) - With many children spending more time at home these days, the Ripon Police Department and area school district teamed up to make those homes a little safer.

“I thought it was a great initiative,” said Ripon Police Sgt. Lindsey Michels.

Project ChildSafe is a national safety firearm safety program.

The Ripon Area School District and School Resource Officer Michels teamed up to bring it to the area.

“To raise awareness to our community and just that everyone is able to safely secure and store their guns,” said Michels.

“Our SRO officer Sgt. Michels was able to pick up this project and really bring it to fruition, so I think it’s a great example of how a school resource officer can be really bringing some positive, proactive change into the school into our community,” said Mary Whitrock, Ripon Area School District Superintendent.

Much of the program involves providing the community with free gun lock safety kits. They include a lock, informational pamphlet, and a pledge parents and kids can sign together that lists gun safety rules to follow.

“It’s really important to continue with that idea of education and make sure our children are aware there’s such a thing as a safety lock that can go on a gun and make sure our parents have access to those,” said Whitrock.

There are 200 of these gun locks available, and people can stop by the Ripon Police Department to pick one up. They will be given out on a first come, first serve basis.

“The police department lobby is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” said Michels.

Michels feels now more than ever it’s important for a focus on gun safety, when many kids are spending more time at home than usual.

“I think it’s very paramount with our students and kids being at home virtual learning and heading into our winter break. They’re going to be home more and I think secure gun storage is so important,” said Michels. “They get curious, kids are curious. They want to explore and they want to know how things work, but there’s the right time and place to do that with adult supervision and learning that way, so this can help prevent those accidental handlings of guns.”

If all 200 are taken, they will consider getting more kits from Project ChildSafe to keep the initiative going.

Both Michels and Whitrock encourage other communities to look into Project ChildSafe. Learn more about the national program at its website.

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