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Interview: Craig Yehlik, Police Chief

Friday, October 21, 2022

Craig Yehlik, Police Chief for the City of New Richmond, offered his perspective for the fall season with a focus on safety. He has years of experience helping his community safely celebrate all seasons and has insights to offer as fall is in full swing!

What tips or recommendations would you have for keeping kids safe during the fall season, considering reduced daylight hours, trick-or-treating and changing weather?
  • For trick-or-treating, focus on the safety of the kids. It might seem fun to have kids jump on and off a trailer or back of a truck to go from house to house, but that decision and action is very risky and dangerous. Other motorists will not be able to see kids running in the dark very well. People are very well intentioned, but the rules of the road and operating safely still apply that night.
  • If you’re going with a group of people, meet up in a location and then walk as a group and have that family and friend time together. You could choose to meet in a development and if you're going to go somewhere else, load up in your cars and have a second location to meet at.
  • Make sure everyone is well lit. Glow sticks are great and inexpensive and easily found at dollar stores. If a costume is all black, having a green glow stick in front and back is a good idea. Also, bring a flashlight with you. Some have strobe features which increases visibility to motorists.
  • Motorists: to slow down on Halloween, especially in residential areas when you know that there's going be kids.
  • Have a plan for being able to wear hats and mittens. If possible, have a costume big enough so it could go over winter clothing.
  • Keep the focus on kids. While adults enjoy celebrating too, let the evening be about them.
What other things comes to mind about fall and keeping the best interests of kids and family in mind?

We are like a lot of Wisconsin people, we take to the woods in the fall, and I think what some people lose sight of the fact there's a lot of guns out there right now. People are duck hunting. They're getting ready for deer season. They're grouse hunting. There are all kinds of different hunting going on.

With kids coming and going to friends’ houses for Halloween, making sure that you're being a good firearms owner and that you're locking up your firearms and your ammunition, always, not just on Halloween. Have a talk with your kids that if they're going over their friend's house. Whether you're a “gun person” or not, teach your children to treat every gun as though it's loaded and never touch them.

Have a conversation with your child’s friend’s parents. Be upfront, but respectful, if your child is going to their house, asking, “Do you have firearms in your house?” The question is meant to facilitate conversation about safety and safety measures. Perhaps you know that the family is a hunting family, and your family is not. You want the other family to know that your child does not have the same understanding or knowledge of guns as theirs. With open minds and open communication, we all can learn from each other.