Law Enforcement Dish Out Safety Tips, Chili at Expo

By: Claudia Lopez

PALMDALE - Some law enforcement personnel were dunked in a water tank as others enjoyed a fresh cup of chili at the annual Safety Expo, Car Show and Chili Cook-Off at the Antelope Valley Mall.

Put together by the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department, the event focused to raise money for the "999 for Kids" charity program, said Deputy Jodi Wolfe, Palmdale Sheriff's Station spokeswoman.

"The Sheriff's Department has the safety expo, the cook-off, the car show and it's just to raise money for the program," Wolfe said. "The charity is for kids that have special needs or are in less fortunate situations - this is what this event is all about."

Some of the items given to needy or disabled children include sport wheelchairs, computers, special education classes, medically oriented toys and games. The funds send children to summer camps for the deaf and blind, and those with other medical issues who would not otherwise have such positive experiences, a Sheriff's Department release said.

In addition to the Sheriff's Department, other law enforcement and emergency agencies such as California Highway Patrol, Los Angeles County Fire Department and American Medical Response set up booths and other gear to show residents what tools were used during a response.

The California Highway Patrol offered information on driving safety for teenagers and proper booster seat safety, among other things.

"We are giving traffic safety information anywhere from motorcycle safety awareness, DUI, distracted driving, traffic safety information to inform the community of safety programs that we have and different laws," CHP Officer Gil Hernandez said.

Law enforcement agencies also set up chili cooking booths across from the car show where dozens of classic cars were stationed in front of the mall's main parking lot, attracting hundreds of shoppers and other curious bystanders.

Palmdale resident Tina Hughes, who brought along her 11-year-old daughter, Taylor Marshall, said that she appreciated the information law enforcement officers were giving out and looked forward to learning more.

"I love it," Hughes said. "I don't know all the rules and regulations, and they change every year," she said, adding that she works for Social Services, and the information gathered would not only benefit her, but her clients as well.

Palmdale resident Kasandra Priester, who hit a bulls-eye at the dunk tank with one throw, drenching an L.A. County firefighter, said she was having a good time and enjoyed watching her children learn new safety methods. Her children, Aleaha, 7 and Adam Priester, 6, were busy playing with a fire hose and other items that were being shown to them.

"It's really good for them to see what the firemen do and policemen do, and I really want to instill that to them," Priester said, adding she was amazed at how heavy firefighter's gear is.

Story courtesy of AV Press