radKIDS is a children’s safety education program the Johns Creek Police Department uses to teach children how to react when approached by a stranger.
In radKIDS, children are taught to yell loud, hit hard and run fast. On the last day of the class, parents are invited to see “Simulation Day” in which the kids take on pretend attackers – police officers dressed in padding – until they can run away and dial 911.
“If I can save one child it will be everything to me and to any other officer or person that teaches this class,” said Johns Creek Police Department Sgt. Debbie Kalish.
Kalish said in this session of radKIDS they had 16 children from ages 7 to 12, an age group she feels is most “at risk” for this kind of danger.
“I have been teaching kid safety for many years and when I found radKIDS it was obviously the best program around,” she said. “I haven’t found a program that’s better than it.”
Johns Creek police officer Mark Johnson helped out by suiting up to be one of the pretend attackers on Simulation Day. He said he likes radKIDS because of what it teaches the children. “They have learned physical safety as well as mental safety on how to protect themselves,” he said.
Monique Zigler said her daughter came home each day during the week-long program feeling more empowered.
“She talked about each day and what they learned specifically,” Zigler said. “I feel like not only does she know what to do now but she’ll also be more apprehensive to open up to somebody she doesn’t know. It’s a great program.”