Heine retires from Safety Town - Republic-Times | News

Heine retires from Safety Town

By on June 20, 2018 at 4:19 pm

Columbia Police Chief Jerry Paul, at left, and Deputy Chief of Police Jason Donjon, middle, presented Detective Sgt. Karla Heine, at right, with a plaque to thank her for her 13 years of leading the Safety Town program. (James “Tal” Moss photo)

In May 2005, the Columbia Police Department sent Karla Heine to O’Fallon, Mo., to learn about a program  used nationwide to teach children about a wide variety of safety issues. 

While observing the O’Fallon Police Department’s Safety Town, Heine would regularly call the Columbia Police Department to tell them all the things they would need to put on their own version of the program. 

The next month, Heine, who had only been with the department for about a year, would help lead its first Safety Town program. It lasted one week and had 29 students and five adult volunteers.

Thirteen years later, Heine is retiring from serving in a leading role at Safety Town. 

“I’m really going to miss it,” Heine said. “The more I’m here the more I miss it. It’s really sad for me, but I know it’s a new chapter for us and our police department.”

She said she wanted to retire from the role to allow another member of the police force the opportunity. 

“I just would like to give somebody else a chance to enjoy it like I have for the past 13 years,” Heine explained.

Since that first program 13 years ago, Safety Town has grown to a two-week affair. This year, it saw a record 115 students, including 61 graduates last week.

Additionally, it now has more than a dozen teenage and adult volunteers.

In Heine’s 13 years leading the program, more than 1,300 students have participated in the program and 28 classes have graduated from it. 

“It has totally grown,” Heine said. “We’ve added a lot of things. Everything has just gotten much bigger.”

Through all those changes, Heine has been a constant…>>>

Read the rest of this article in the June 20, 2018, issue of the Republic-Times newspaper.

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James Moss