Name: Officer Sam DeFelice, Conservation Enforcement Officer
Department: Connecticut State Environmental Conservation (ENCON) Police
How does your agency distribute Project ChildSafe gun locks and safety materials in your community?
The CT State ENCON Police distribute gun locks at community outreach events such as hunting and fishing shows. We also use our social media platforms to discuss firearms safety topics such as proper firearms handling, firearms storage, range safety, hunting safety as well as speaking to our youth about firearms safety.
Why does your department partner with Project ChildSafe?
The CT State ENCON Police face unique challenges being a conservation law enforcement agency. We do not have traditional jurisdictional boundaries like a municipal police agency so reaching out to our recreational outdoor community can be difficult. Project ChildSafe helps us bridge that gap through public awareness and education.
How has access to free gun locks and safety materials impacted your community?
We have been able to provide gun owners a level of safety and security whether it be in their home or in the field. Our educational campaign via social media has been able to provide resources to parents about speaking to their children about firearms safety.
How can residents in your in community and communities across the country become more involved in spreading the message of safety?
Regardless if you are a gun owner or not, it is critically important to speak to our youth about firearms safety. Recently a group of kindergarten aged children were walking to school and noticed a firearm on the ground near a school entrance. The children kept other students away from the firearm and notified school officials, who in turn notified the respective law enforcement agency. This is a perfect example of the need to spread the word and educate our youth on firearm safety.
In addition to firearm safety, what are some of the best safety practices families can incorporate in their homes?
Always have a plan! Make sure your family has a plan of action in the event of an emergency, and everyone in the family knows the plan.
Always wear a life jacket when heading out on the water. Especially those who use kayaks and canoes.
If your heading out for a hike, a hunt or for a day on the water, make sure someone knows where you will be and when you will return.