As many Gila Valley residents know, the popular Thatcher Splash Park has reopened for the summer. Children and teachers look forward to summer with anticipation of sunny days and long beautiful summer nights. However, the disturbing truth is that our little Gila Valley is not as safe as we would like to think it is. While the children rush out into the sunlight, parents need to be on the lookout for hidden dangers.
Early in August last year, a local women called the police because a man was taking pictures of the children playing at the splash park. However, because the police were called later on in the day, the man had already gotten away. Although he wasn’t caught, many local women took to calling the suspect, the “Splash Pad Creeper.” Chief Woods remembers the story of the Splash Pad Creeper. “I would just offer the advice to pay attention to your surroundings and keep a close eye on your kids,” Chief Woods stated, “While the park is a fun place to be, parents still need to supervise their children. And if you see something suspicious or that appears not right, call the police and we will come check it out. That’s what we get paid for. People often hesitate to call because they think what they saw or are seeing isn’t important enough to call. We don’t mind and actually would rather be called for a false alarm then get called later and have to try and figure out what happened after the fact.”
Serving as a reminder to all parents out there, yes summertime is amazing. However, our little community still has its creepers. Teach your children safety precautions about strangers, and keep an eye open at public places. Chief Woods would also like to remind the public that if you are a witness to a crime, please try to take into account any information that could help the local police. “Be observant of things like colors, makes and models, license plate #’s of vehicles,” Chief Woods stated, “Clothing descriptions and other things that can be helpful in identifying or locating suspects.”