From The Archives: Times Have Certainly Changed

Captain Russell Timmons

Somersworth police officer Russell Timmons handcuffs a volunteer at Great Falls School Thursday while speaking to the children about his duties as a law enforcement officer. The demonstration is part of the “It’s Ok to say No,” lesson the children are learning through the school’s YMCA Out program.

Yesterday I posted the picture to the left on Somersworth Now’s Facebook page and asked if people knew who the officer in the picture was.

Many guessed the correct answer: that it was a much younger Captain Timmons in the picture. He was taking part in a program that had been run by the YMCA at Great Falls School back in 1986.

I’ve posted the article below because I find it interesting, how in a relativity short space of time, the use of words and how things are taught regarding child abuse, as well as community policing itself, have changed.

Although the article itself does not identify the young man who is being handcuffed, I have it on good authority, that it was Captain Timmons son and he was a willing volunteer.

March 1986
Ok to say No

By Elissa Bass (Democrat Writer)

Somersworth – Students in the YMCA’s after school day-care program here have been learning it’s okay to to say no to an adult, if that adult makes the child feel “weird.”

Ending the two-week session, which has included a coloring book, film strip and many discussions about “good touches” and “bad touches,” was a talk from Somersworth Detective Marc Perreault and Officer Russel Timmons on how the children can make their lives safer.

Timmons represented a “real cop,” Perreault said, adding the uniformed officer was always the highlight of the afternoon with the children. Questions ranged from “Have you ever shot anybody?” “Will you handcuff me?” as the children swarmed around Timmons, examining his official paraphernalia.

What Perreualt tells the children, and he will speak to any group that makes the request, is they should stay away from strangers and strange cars, they should always tell their parents where they are going, and they should walk in pairs or groups – never alone.

What’s most important for children today to understand is that they don;t have to do everything an adult tells them to do, especially if they think its a bad thing.

The section the YMCA has been doing, here and in other communities, concentrates in the child’s right to leave any situation that makes him feel uncomfortable. The coloring book points out to children where their “private parts” are, and tells the child no one has the right to touch those parts.

The coloring book shows that a bad person doesn’t always look bad, and children must be careful, and should never be afraid to tell their parents anything.

Pat Herman, coordinator of the YMCA program at Great Falls school, said the children have reacted well to the sessions, and seem to understand the situation. She said she is amazed, in the course of the discussions with the children, how many of them say they have been approached by strangers.

The program, Perreault, makes the children aware, not afraid, and added they like to talk about it, and have a lot of questions.

Perreault said the most important thing parents can do is make their children understand they shouldn’t be afraid to talk to them if something has happened to them.

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Captain Timmons of the Somersworth PDSo there you have it. Time have certainly changed haven’t they.

To Captain Timmons I have to say thanks for one being such a good sport, and more importantly for your service. ( You haven’t changed a bit over the years btw)

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