Amish kids? police department?

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From the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Department:

Kosciusko County Sheriff Aaron Rovenstine met Tuesday at one of the many Amish school houses located in the county that he serves.

Rovenstine, along with the department’s public information officer Sgt. Chad Hill, were asked by the school to come and speak to the children about bicycle safety, along with the functions of the sheriff’s department.

The officers were initially met at the door by the teacher, Marlene Miller, a young, Amish lady that had grown-up herself in the immediate area of the school that is located between Nappanee and Milford in rural Kosciusko County.

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“We are so glad you were able to come today, the children are so excited,” states Miller as she leads the officers into the almost hauntingly quiet, school room.

The children, ranging from as young as first-graders to eighth-graders, are all sitting on long, wooden, backless benches, in complete silence and attentiveness. The one-room school house, which portrays images from the “Little House on the Prairie” book series, is dimly lit by two gas lanterns on this overcast morning. Even the old, wooden floor creaks with historic age, as the officers’ step towards the chalkboard.

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Sheriff Rovenstine introduces himself to the students, and begins to explain the functions of the sheriff’s department and different divisions, teams and services that are provided. Sgt. Hill continues the program by explaining general bicycle safety, along with how bicycles must also abide by the same “rules of the road” as vehicles.

Sheriff Rovenstine also stated, “In my 25 years on the sheriff’s department, I extremely glad to see the use of the LED lights on the bicycles and the buggies. I, unfortunately, have had to work several crashes in my career involving Amish buggies and bicycles after being struck from behind by vehicles”.

During the program, the Amish students were allowed outside to look inside and sit in a marked squad car as Sgt. Hill described some of the various equipment and electronics now being used. Miller commented that “they are completely thrilled to see what is actually in a police car; the guns, the computer; it’s almost overwhelming for them!”

Rovenstine ended the program by handing out departmental “badge” stickers, pencils, and bicycle safety coloring books to the students.

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“I think that it really shows what type of community we are when they (the Amish) call and invite us,” said Rovenstine. “They live such simple lives that virtually never change with the rest of society. But I’m also proud of the mutual respect that we both have for each other. Sgt. Hill had performed this same program years ago to almost all the Amish schools in our county. In fact, Miss Miller recalled her older brothers and sisters visit from him at this same school house. Hopefully, we have gained more confidence between our agency and a portion of the private Amish community by todays and future programs.”

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