Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

April 24, 2013

APD: Safety a priority on annual trip to D.C.

ASHLAND — With last week’s bombing at the Boston Marathon and the ensuing drama that held the city and surrounding towns hostage, it’s understandable parents might be a bit jittery about allowing their children to leave for a four-day trip to the nation’s capital.

That’s particularly true in light of the fact many of the approximately 200 fifth- and sixth-graders who will be going on the Ashland Police Department’s annual school Safety Patrol trip to Washington, D.C., have likely never been away from home before without their parents, said APD Maj. Mark McDowell, who serves as commander of the team that oversees the journey.

While McDowell said he didn’t blame parents for being apprehensive in the wake of the events in Boston, he said there’s really no reason for them to be concerned for their children’s safety on the trip.

For one thing, he said, the trip, which is in its 47th year, is as well-oiled a machine as one is every likely to find. Activities are carefully planned, the youngsters are closely supervised and their every move is monitored by teachers and chaperones. There’s also a police officer on each bus, and a medical team accompanies the group and is available in the event a child becomes ill.

“Never have we flown by the seat of our pants on this trip,” said McDowell, who’s in his seventh year as team leader and will be making the trip for the 28th year.

Additionally, McDowell said, there are contingencies in place in case anything should not go as planned. And, over the years, he said, the APD has developed close contacts with law enforcement in Washington, and those contacts relay information to the APD about possible threats.

“If there was ever anything that would cause concern for safety, I would not hesitate to push the red button” and call off the trip, he said.

A total of 209 youngsters are signed up for this year’s trip, down slightly from last year because Holy Family School only sends students every other year, McDowell said. They’re scheduled to depart May 1 and return May 5.

A patrol trip has never been canceled because of safety concerns. However, for two years following the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, students went to Colonial Williamsburg, Va., rather than Washington.

KENNETH HART can be reached at khart@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2654.

Text Only
Local News
  • 0730Grimes_406.jpg Grimes bus tour gets rousing sendoff

    A recent poll,which has twice previously shown Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes with a slim lead over incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, now has McConnell up by two points.

    July 29, 2014 3 Photos

  • In GOP South, pushback against Obama climate rules

    In the Republican-heavy Southeast, critics said Tuesday that a plan by President Barack Obama’s administration to cut pollution would raise electricity prices, result in job losses and may not significantly curtail the carbon emissions blamed for global warming.

    July 29, 2014

  • AK Steel posts smaller 2Q loss

    AK Steel Holding Corp. (AKS) on Tuesday reported a smaller loss in its second quarter, and topped analysts' expectations.

    July 29, 2014

  • ambulance.jpg UPDATE: Major impact downtown in accident

    A morning accident left an ambulance resting on its side Tuesday morning in front of the Paramount Arts Center on Winchester Avenue.

    July 29, 2014 2 Photos

  • Jesse Stuart Foundation celebrates 35 years

    The annual Jesse Stuart Foundation Open House from noon to 6 p.m. on Aug. 8 will be a huge celebration.

    July 28, 2014

  • 0729hagerman.jpg Hagerman talks law with Rotary

    At Monday’s lunchtime meeting of the Ashland Rotary Club, Boyd County Circuit Court Judge C. David Hagerman summed up current local legal trends — and how cases, courts and criminals have changed during his 20-plus year tenure.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • POLICE BEAT: Houseguest steals valuables, nabbed at pawn shop

    Fish and houseguests both stink after three days — and much less time when a visitor pockets valuables without permission.

    July 28, 2014

  • 0728bank5.jpg Iconic Gate City bank torn down after partial collapse

    This weekend, Catlettsburg’s downtown silhouette lost one of its longest-lived landmarks.
    Demolition workers began to tear down one of the Gate City’s oldest downtown buildings following the former Catlettsburg National Bank’s partial collapse.

    July 28, 2014 2 Photos

  • Study shows room for parking improvement

    It has been suggested that the parking layout along Winchester Avenue should change, bringing the city’s main thoroughfare down to two lanes.

    July 28, 2014

  • Anti-smoking tour kicks off in Ashland

    A scan in 2009 that was supposed to show doctors what was causing Deborah Cline’s eye problems by chance revealed the cancer in her lung.
    Two years later, Roger Cline watched his wife die of lung cancer. Deborah Cline was 59 and had never smoked.

    July 28, 2014