Laurel's Immanuel Lutheran Church hosted safety event in LCC school
The youth group at Laurel's Immanuel Lutheran Church hosted speaker Kayla Bradley of Quantico, Va. as a speaker this week.
"Last spring an unfamiliar vehicle circled an area outside of a sporting event in town where two girls had been going between the event and a vehicle," said Rev. Jeffrey Warner. "People noticed and a concerned parent came to me but no one had a description of the vehicle or a license plate number. There was nothing to go off of."
That's how the ball got rolling on inviting Bradley to speak.
Bradley, a criminologist, researcher and analyst, is a friend of Warners. She finished her undergraduate work at Wayne State College and has worked with federal law enforcement.
Warner had asked Bradley to come speak to the youth group but busy schedules got in the way. As time went on, the topic seemed to only need more attention so Warner and Bradley came up with a date that would work for her to speak.
It started out just as a discussion for the youth group and their parents but the support was so strong, Warner contacted LCC schools about using their gym.
"The response was so strong and so affirmative when I brought it to the youth and their parents," Warner said. "They wanted to know if more people from the community could come."
Warner said it wasn't a hard decision to open it up to the public but that a change in venue was needed to accommodate the growing number of those interested.
"I worked with Mr. Johnson and Mr. Klooz for the venue and equipment options and it all fell together. The school administration was so very welcoming of the event with the subject manner."
The topic -- social media dangers and awareness, human abduction and trafficking -- is a hot topic especially in light of the recent abductions in more rural areas.
Subjects covered by Bradley included reducing risks of online dating, recognizing predators and stalkers on social media, preventing child abduction and exploitation, combating pornography and human trafficking as well as exercising situational awareness and self defense.
The topics are ones that parents and children need to be aware of, which is why the public was encouraged to attend.
Those aged 7th grade and up were allowed to be a part of the event, but adult themes kept younger children from being there.
Local law enforcement was there, including Tom Decker, a Dixon County Deputy and Ron Lundahl, with the Laurel Police Department.