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Guns, dogs and firetrucks: Annual safety camp draws a crowd

Cottage Grove police officer Ryan Pierre showed Dylan Wigant, 8, his bulletproof vest at Summer Safety Camp at Hamlet Park. William Loeffler / RiverTown Multimedia 1 / 2
Cottage Grove police officers Ryan Pierre and Andrea Lindeen conduct a gun safety talk during the annual Safety Camp at Hamlet Park. William Loeffler / RiverTown Multimedia2 / 2

COTTAGE GROVE — The safety campers had a lot of questions for Cottage Grove Police officers Ryan Pierre and Andrea Lindeen.

How much does your bulletproof vest weigh?

(10 pounds.)

Have you used a stun gun on someone?

(Yes.)

Have you been shocked by a stun gun and pepper sprayed?

"Yes because if I pepper spray someone and it comes back on me I have to know what it feels like," Lindeen said.

Do the pieces of an AR-15 fit together like Legos?

(Yes, kind of.)

Can you put handcuffs on me?

"No, because if we can't get them off, then I'll be in trouble," Pierre said.

Eighty-five local youths turned up for the 24th annual safety camp at Hamlet Park in Cottage Grove. They learned about 911, bike safety, gun safety, fire prevention, kitchen safety, electrical safety and first aid. Cottage Grove Police and Fire Department told campers about their jobs and showed them their equipment and tools.

The two-day camp included a K-9 demonstration, a pumper fire truck and a mock extraction and rescue from the wreckage of a car. The bomb sniffing dogs from the Metro Transit Police in the Twin Cities were a hit with Efrain Jiminez-Boggess, 12, and Mariana Olson, 10.

William Loeffler

William Loeffler is a playwright and journalist from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He worked 15 years writing features for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He has also written travel stories based on his trips to all seven continents. He and his wife, Michelle, ran the Boston Marathon in 2009. 

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