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Bismarck Police have released a Public Notification and Release of Information on High Risk Offender Allan D. Richardson. Richardson is not wanted by the police at this time and has served the sentence imposed by the court. Even though this offender will be monitored through GPS, this would be a good time to review basic precautions especially concerning children. Parents can’t be with children and protect them everywhere. That’s why education is still most important. Present safety information simply and directly but avoid frightening your children. Teach them to be careful, not afraid. Bad guys don't all look bad. If you ask a child to describe a "stranger", they'll describe a person who looks mean, scary or has bad teeth. You can't tell if a person is good or bad by the way they look, so children have to be careful around all people. Instead of trying to teach children what a “stranger” is, talk to them about "situations." Role play and ask "what would you do if..."• What if you’re home alone and someone comes to the door?• What if someone calls on the phone and says “Congratulations, you’ve just won a 21 speed mountain bike, but I need some information. What’s your name? How old are you? What school do you go to? • What if someone offers you a modeling job, but you need to stop by their place for a photo shoot?• What if a neighbor invites you in for a Coke and then shows you some dirty pictures you know your parent’s wouldn’t want you to see?• What if someone said they had a gun and wanted you to get in their car?• What if someone wanted you to keep a secret or they would kill your pet?
Role-playing helps children to have a plan if they are approached. Review rules often. (We don’t expect our kids to learn anything else we teach them in only one lesson—why would this be any different?) Some advocate: Don’t talk to strangers, period. I don’t know if that is realistic. Instead of trying to define a stranger, focus on the behavior. There are certain situations to watch out for: Adults shouldn't ask children for help. Adults should ask other adults for help. Children should be wary of adults asking them for help with things like finding a lost puppy, mailing a package, or finding an address. Teach your children never to go anywhere with anyone without asking permission first. This would include neighbors and friends. Fake authority. Adults may pose as police officers, firemen or other authority figures. Not everyone who has a badge is for real. Teach your children that if they are not sure if the person is who they say they are, to ask another adult. A real police officer won't mind. Fake emergency. "Quick, get in the car! You're dad's been in a bad accident and your mom sent me to pick you up!" Teach your children that you would never send someone they don't know to pick them up. Gifts and favors. We've all heard "don't take candy from strangers." But what about pony rides, motorcycle rides or X-Box games? Teach your children never to take anything from anyone without asking permission first. Don't keep secrets. Teach children never to keep secrets. They should be made to feel that they can tell you anything, no matter how uncomfortable it makes them feel. Use the buddy system. Young children should always be with an adult. Don't leave them alone in the car, even for a minute. Older children should go places with a friend. Never let a child go to a public restroom alone. Know how to get help. Teach your children how to use 9-1-1. If they are lost in a store, train them to stay in the store and ask a clerk for help. Teach them to run if followed—but give them some guidance. Keep it simple. If you are on this side of the street, run home. If you’re on the other side of the street, run to the school. Don’t hide behind the bushes, run to where there are other people. Followed by car, run in opposite direction car is facing.
If all else fails. If a child is grabbed, she should yell "help, this isn't my dad" and make a scene. Kick, scream, bite, whatever the child has to do to get away or to draw as much attention to themselves as possible. SAFETY TIPS FOR CHILDREN:• Know their birth date, including day, month and year.• Know their complete address, including street name and number, city and state.• Talk to their parents about where they are going, who they are going with and how long they will be gone. Parents should know the phone numbers and parent's names of their children's friends.• Go places with other children. They should not be wandering around the neighborhood after dark or alone. • Know that police officers can be trusted and that they can help if a child is in a dangerous situation. (Police are your friends, not police will put you in jail if you don’t eat your vegetables.)• Encourage your children to tell you if an adult has bothered them. Reassure them that you'll believe them, and that you'll protect them from further harm.• Never go into a stranger's house or car. Never accept candy, money or treats from anyone they do not know or trust. If they have a question about accepting a treat, teach them to say "let me check with my (mom, dad, babysitter, or teacher)."• Report strangers who are repeatedly hanging around a play area. They should tell their parents or teacher about the person - what they look like, what kind of car they drive and its' license plate number.• Keep their house key in a hidden place on their body. If they keep it on a chain around their neck, everyone will know they are probably going home to an empty house.• Not tell people that they are home alone when answering the telephone. Teach them to say something like "My mom (or dad/caretaker) cannot come to the phone right now, can (she, he) call you back in a while?"• Secrets vs. surprises. A secret is something that never gets told. Secrets are usually bad. Know that if an adult tells them that something is a secret forever and they should never talk about it with their parents, they should talk to another adult about it right away. "Forever secrets" are often harmful to someone. Even if the person threatens to hurt you, a loved one, or a pet, it is important to talk to another adult. Surprise is something that gets told eventually. These are usually good things, like a surprise birthday party.• Lock all doors if they're home alone. Don't let anyone know they are by themselves.• Show your children safe places they can go in the neighborhood in an emergency, like a trusted neighbor’s house. • Know that there are people who love them and care for them. If they have a problem - any kind of problem - they can talk to their parents, a teacher, a counselor, their principal, a police officer or a friend of the family.• Know that they are special.• Know to run to a friend's house or nearest store if they think that someone is following them on foot or in a car.• Go to the check-out counter immediately if they are separated from their parent while shopping. Never go to the parking lot to look for their parent.• Know to say "NO" to any adult who tries to touch you in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable. No one has that right. They should always tell their parent about what happened.• Make sure children take the safest routes to and from school, stores and friend’s houses. • Children & adults should be taught not to go into an empty house or apartment if things don’t look right—a broken window, ripped screen or open door.
WHAT WE ALL MUST DO If there's a suspicious person hanging around places where children are, get a description of him, his car and license plate. Then call the police. Molesters and abductors are out there, and they usually study their victims before they strike. It's impossible for the police to watch over every child. We ask you to make a personal commitment to help protect all children. If you see anything suspicious, report it to the police. Don't wait. Don't talk yourself out of it. Your concern for children and your instincts could save a child's life. Offenders are classified as posing a "High," "Moderate," or "Low" risk to the community. To receive email alerts of when an offender moves into your neighborhood, go to http://www.sexoffender.nd.gov/ and click on “Offender Notification System.” Then click on “Sign Up to Receive Email Notices.” E-mail notification relates only to offenders who are classified as "High" risk and those who have a lifetime requirement to register as a sex offender. These offenders are also on the ND Sex Offender Website (www.sexoffender.nd.gov).