Eddie Eagle GunSafe® Program
The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office is pleased to announce that our Community Outreach Division is offering an educational program on gun safety for children pre-K to grade 3. The program is complete with its own mascot – Eddie Eagle – who assists a law enforcement officer in teaching young people what to do if they find a gun.
Whether or not a particular family owns firearms, chances are, neighbors and relatives do, making it likely that children will encounter a firearm at some point. From their earliest awareness, children are exposed to guns through cartoons, television shows and movies. They’re curious about firearms, and may have developed inaccurate perceptions of what a firearm is and does.
The difference between “pretend” and “real” activities and consequences is often not clear to a child. Our children need to know: REAL GUNS ARE NOT TOYS.
While parents are ultimately responsible for the care, safety, and development of their children, all children need to be taught gun accident prevention to be prepared if they encounter a firearm. Where there is no adult supervision, children must know what to do.
Just as Smokey Bear teaches children not to play with lighters or matches, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office uses Eddie Eagle to teach kids not to play with firearms. The purpose of the program isn't to teach whether guns are good or bad, but rather to promote the protection and safety of children.
For the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, it's another way police officers can connect with kids, on a positive note; and hopefully build a good relationship as well as maybe even save their life one day if they were to come in contact with a gun.
Eddie Eagle’s message is simple:
If you see a gun,
- Don’t Touch!
- Leave the area!
- Tell and adult!
Begun in 1988, the Eddie Eagle GunSafe® Program has reached more than 25 million children – in all 50 states. This program was developed by the National Rifle Association with the combined efforts of such qualified professionals as clinical psychologists, reading specialists, teachers, curriculum specialists, urban housing safety officials, and law enforcement personnel.
The program makes no value judgments about firearms, and no firearms are ever used in the program. Like swimming pools, electrical outlets, matchbooks and household poison, they're treated simply as a fact of everyday life. With firearms found in about half of all American households, it's a stance that makes sense. Eddie Eagle is never shown touching a firearm, and he does not promote firearm ownership or use. The program prohibits the use of Eddie Eagle mascots anywhere that guns are present. The Eddie Eagle Program has no agenda other than accident prevention -- ensuring that children stay safe should they encounter a gun.
The Eddie Eagle GunSafe ® Program has been honored or formally endorsed by groups such as the National Sheriffs' Association, the American Legion, the Police Athletic League, the Association of American Educators, and others. In 1997, the Oregon Legislature passed a resolution commending the National Rifle Association for its diligence and service in developing the Eddie Eagle Program and encouraging the state's Department of Education to promote the use of the program to schools to help prevent firearm related accidents among children.
The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office was able to purchase an Eddie Eagle mascot costume with the help of a generous grant from the Mercy Foundation. All the educational materials to help support this important program have been donated by the Friends of the NRA.
The Eddie Eagle GunSafe ® program can be broken down by age groups (preK-1st, 2nd & 3rd) or done for large groups such as school assemblies. During the program a law enforcement officer will talk about general safety issues, show a video, review the information and introduce Eddie Eagle. This program takes approximately a half hour to present. To schedule a presentation please contact our Community Outreach Coordinator, Andrea Zielinski at 541-440-4486.