The Eagle Rock Kiwanis Club distributed 46 bicycle helmets to students in the entire first grade of Dahlia Heights Elementary School Friday, underscoring the fact that just like charity, safety, too, begins at "home."
Dozens of students sat patiently in the school's auditorium while Paul Marquez, an officer in the Los Angeles Police Department Bicycle Unit, administered to them an oath revolving around the importance of always wearing a helmet while riding a bicycle and never being out on the streets without adult supervision.
Marquez was accompanied by LAPD Senior Lead Officer Nina Preciado, who in in charge of public safety issues in Eagle Rock. Others present at the helmet giveaway were Eagle Rock Kiwanis Club President Eric Warren, a Dahlia Heights alumnus; LAPD Business Law Enforcement Northeast Division (BLEND) Director La Dell Stapp; Dahlia Heights Principal Rona Greenstadt; and Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council Vice President David Greene, whose kids study at Dahlia.
Although the event was about bike safety, the police presence occasionally—and predictably—turned it into something else.
"Do you fight bad guys," asked a young girl during a Q&A session that Marquez initiated.
"I try to use my verbal skills to sweet-talk them into being good," the bicycle patrol officer quipped.