Children from Norcross got a peek at the inner workings of city hall on Friday.
Nearly 600 kids came throughout the morning to get an up-close look at a fire truck, a police dog in action, a city courtroom and other city services. It was all part of Cities Government Day, which is held in Norcross each year so kids can see how the city operates.
As first graders from Norcross Elementary gathered around a fire truck in front of city hall, Gwinnett County firefighter Jeffers held up equipment such as air packs and suspenders, and stressed fire safety.
In a fire, make sure you get out of your house, and don’t worry about finding anyone else, Jeffers told the kids.
“Do not hide. Don’t worry about your dog or your mom and dad, or brother or sister,” Jeffers said, telling the kids to break a window if they have to, but to get out safely and wait for help.
He also told kids to memorize their address, so if they need to make a call for help, emergency responders can find them.
A few yards away in another parking lot, Norcross Police Officer T. Bureta showed a group of kids how his K-9 unit, a German Shepherd named Bravo, tracks criminals. Two other police dogs, Eiko and Andor, came from the neighboring Lawrenceville Police Department with their trainer, Officer Humphreys.
First Eiko then Bravo attacked the officer’s arm, which was protected by a thick pad, gripping tightly with their jaws. Afterward, the officer petted the dogs.
“Everybody needs to realize this dog has a job to do,” Bureta said of Eiko. “He’s not a mean dog, not a vicious dog. See his tail wagging? He’s having fun.”
In another demonstration by the Georgia Traffic Injury Prevention Institute, kids saw what happens when you don’t wear a seat belt.
A truck was rolled over to simulate a crash at 35 mph. As second graders looked on, an adult and child crash test dummy were thrown from the truck, prompting excited screams from the children.
“You need to wear your seatbelts. There’s no way to get around that,” said James Freeman, who demonstrated the rollover and is an employee with the institute.
Cities Government Day is part of Georgia Cities Week, an initiative through the Georgia Municipal Association, said Mary Beth Bender, an event organizer and a Norcross city employee.
“It’s just a good way to reach out to the community, to be involved with the school system,” Bender said.