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Kids Learn Safety Isn’t Only For the Birds

Author Susan Finch puckers up before Officer Byrd plants a kiss

They’ve been partners for 33 years, the turquoise-and-orange macaw and retired Los Angeles Police officer Michael Simonsen.

Chief John Welter answers a question about dinosaurs

“He was the seventh animal at LAPD,” Simonsen told dozens of awe-struck children Friday at the Anaheim Family Justice Center. “His name isn’t James Bond; it’s James Byrd, and he’s not trained to shoot. He’s trained to poop.”

More than 50 children – some participants in APD’s Cops4Kids program – watched Officer Byrd’s every move as he rode a mini bicycle, picked up trash and looked both ways before he crossed the street.

Simonsen – and former Anaheim Web designer Susan M. Finch – visited the justice center to read from their children’s books, “The Adventures of Officer Byrd” and “Dino Manners.”

“It was so much fun to watch the children pick up important safety tips in such an entertaining way,” said Kerith Dilley, executive director of the AFJC Foundation.

Police Chief John Welter and City Attorney Cristina Talley read Dino Manners to the children. Afterward, Welter handed out gold APD badge stickers. And local McDonald’s owner Scott Frisbie donated refreshments.

“It’s nice to see the generosity of our community,” Dilley added, noting the authors offered 30-percent of book sales to AFJC. “And it’s always refreshing to watch young children interact with and build positive relationships with our police officers.”

Readers can buy Dino Manners until the end of March and a portion of the sale will benefit the foundation, Dilley said. “The book would be a great gift for the women and children in our survivor’s academy,” she said.

Kids enjoyed Officer Byrd's safety messages