McGruff the Crime Dog and Anaheim Dispatchers Surprise Local Elementary School Students

By Ryan Dedmon

McGruff poses in front of an APD squad car

The multi-purpose room at Mattie Lou Maxwell Elementary School in Anaheim erupted with cheers from 400 students last Friday when McGruff the Crime Dog made his entrance into the auditorium.  McGruff accompanied Anaheim Police Dispatchers and Volunteers as they put on an assembly presentation to teach kids about 9-1-1.

Last year, Anaheim Police Communications developed a special program that reaches out to local elementary schools and educates children about 9-1-1.  Research done by a non-profit organization in California has shown that approximately 20 percent of all calls to the 9-1-1 Emergency System are false, and a majority of these calls are accidentally made by young children 4-10 years old. 

In a proactive effort to battle these false accidental calls, Anaheim Police Dispatchers make special visits to local elementary schools to teach kids about the proper use of 9-1-1.

The children watched a short movie called “The Great 9-1-1 Adventure”, which is an educational story about a group of children depicted as puppets, who go on a journey to learn about how 9-1-1 works.  Communications Supervisor John Carter then spent time talking to the children about what to do in the event of an emergency. 

After the assembly presentation, police volunteers helped move the children outside where they got to take photos with McGruff. 

Communications Manager Kurt Wallace says, “The goal is to teach young children about 9-1-1 so they know when to call; hopefully, this will eliminate false and prank calls in the future that waste valuable time for dispatchers who need to help other people with real emergencies.” 

The program also gives young children a positive interaction with the police, which we hope will shape their attitudes in regards to becoming model citizens in the community and working with police in the future to solve problems.  

Special thanks to the administration and faculty at Maxwell Elementary School for their support.  McGruff will be making more visits to local elementary schools in Anaheim this 2010-11 school year to surprise kids and help dispatchers with 9-1-1 education.     

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