By Anne Eickstadt

ANNE EICKSTADT PHOTO Belvidere Republican
Officer Tim receives many ‘high fives’ from the kids for everything he has done during his visit to the class.


St. James Catholic School’s pre-school teacher, Miss Ellen LaBianco has been inviting Belvidere first-responders to meet her students and inform the youngsters about their jobs.

Last fall, the class was able to meet three Belvidere Fire Department firefighters, explore a fire engine, and see what a firefighter wears when fighting a fire. They learned that even if a firefighter in full gear may look scary, the outfit is to protect him from the fire. When this intimidating-looking being comes to rescue them, they should not hide because there is a trained person inside who is coming to help them.

On Wednesday, Feb. 27, Miss LaBianco read the class a book about police officers before Officer Tim Blankenship arrived. The kids were very quiet and careful when this tall police officer entered the room but did not take very long before he had them smiling and eager to talk. He told them he had worked the night shift for 10 years and the day shift for seven years so he had worked all hours of the day and night. Officer Tim told them he has worked in the Gang Unit, the Drug Unit, the Traffic Unit, and other areas of the Belvidere Police Dept. He asked them questions and they asked him questions.

They asked about police vehicles, police dogs, his radio, his vest, and the handcuffs on his belt. (He disappointed them by telling them that he was not going to handcuff them.) They asked why he has a gun. “To protect people,” Officer Tim said. “The police dog can find you if you get lost,” he said. “We have two police dogs, Baks and Monti.” He spoke of the jail, school officers, and the lockdown drills they practice.

Officer Tim got big smiles as he distributed activity books, badge stickers, and ‘Back the Blue’ wristbands. He even joined them as they demonstrated…


For complete article, pick up the March 7 Belvidere Republican.

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