Jens Wald-Hopkins receives a certificate of appreciation from Los Alamos Police Department Chief Dino Sgambellone. Photo Courtesy LAPD
Los Alamos Police Department Chief Dino Sgambellone on Wednesday recognized 6th grader Jens Wald-Hopkins of Pinon Elementary School for helping keep Los Alamos County safe, especially our parks. Earlier this month, Jens was playing with his friends near Rocket Park where he discovered an unattended handgun. Once Jens realized it was a firearm, he did not move it but called a trusted adult, his father. His parents then met him where he was and safely secured the firearm then notified LAPD.
Chief Sgambellone said, “Jens did exactly what he was supposed to do”. Jens was given a certificate, gift-card and a police department coin, to recognize his quick thinking which not only kept his friends safe but also countless other children who play near and at Rocket Park.
Chief Sgambellone started Safety Town in 2015 in Los Alamos (which he brought from his hometown agency of Mansfield, Ohio). Safety Town is a partnership between Los Alamos Public Schools and the Police Department. Safety Town is a two-week summer program for incoming kindergarten students to learn about different topics related to safety. Some of the topics covered are; bike safety, “Stranger Danger”, animal awareness, fire safety, water safety, and what to do if you find a gun.
“We are fortunate to have many children who have graduated the Safety Town program. We want to remind parents to have safety discussions with their children that help keep them safe,” said Chief Sgambellone.
LAPD hopes to resume Safety Town in the summer of 2021, pending the Covid-19 pandemic. LAPD officers are investigating the circumstances as to why the handgun was left in the area. Anyone with information may call LAPD Crime Stoppers, (505) 662-8282.