A picture can say a thousand words — especially when it's a drawing from a local kid, asking you to drive safely. That's why Cst. Colin Helm recruited the help of local elementary school children for Operation Think of Me, a safe driving campaign in Digby, N.S.
"Our goal was to get drivers to slow down and be careful in school zones," says Helm, the local school liaison officer. "Rather than us [police] spreading the message, we thought it would have more impact coming from a child."
Helm gave students at five elementary schools in the Digby area a piece of paper and asked them to draw messages. Some drew pictures about crossing the street safely, while others asked drivers to put away their cellphones when behind the wheel. Police handed out the drawings to drivers during roadside stops.
"The kids were so excited, they felt like they were part of something huge," says Helm.
On the back of the drawings, a printed message from the Mounties reminds drivers to slow down and watch for children in school zones.
Helm launched Operation Think of Me in Digby in 2014, and since then, has done a version of the program almost every year. He credits the community's excitement and support to the success of the program.
"It's something small but it's part of the big picture of road safety," he says. "It's all about thinking globally and taking those bigger police problems and acting locally."
This winter, Helm plans to get local kids to draw on the paper bags used to pack liquor in at the Nova Scotia Liquor Control stores. The goal will be to discourage drinking and driving over the holiday season.
"We can't bring children to the side of the road to talk to everyone, so this is a good way to get the message across: slow down and drive safely," says Helm.