Staff Photo: Keith Farner Special Agent Bryan Shields of the Drug Enforcement Agency gives a presentation to kindergarten students at Level Creek Elementary on Friday. The DEA was part of several agencies that participated in "Operation Safety Day" at the school.
SUWANEE -- When Dominick Delmastro was in elementary school, he dreamed of working in law enforcement. Now that he's in the industry, he enjoys the thrill kids get out of climbing in a Black Hawk helicopter, watching a bomb squad robot or wearing a Hazmat suit.
Delmastro and a group of law enforcement agents and officers visited Level Creek Elementary on Friday on behalf of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association for "Operation Safety Day." Delmastro, who works for the Office of the Inspector General and the U.S. Postal Service, and his colleagues aimed to introduce students to several aspects of agencies and divisions like the Secret Service, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Drug and Enforcement Administration and Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
Delmastro's career includes the Army Military Police, a New York City police officer and now working for federal government law enforcement divisions. Delmastro said he hopes events like this paint a positive picture of law enforcement officials for students.
"We love to see the reactions of the kids," Delmastro said. "Maybe one of these kids says, 'Hey, I want to join the Army and fly a Black Hawk helicopter."
Secret Service employees also took pictures and provided finger printing of students for parents and guardians.
Students, teachers and Principal Nancy Kiel took in stations of demonstrations of bomb-sniffing dogs, a Secret Service-protected presidential limousine and a DEA ghillie suit.
"I'm learning things I didn't know about law enforcement, and how they work together," Kiel said.
Sgt. Russell Coleman of the Gwinnett County Police Bomb Squad explained why his department is needed, how it responds to about a 100 callouts each year, and the how the $500,000 truck uses cameras to work an event. Coleman demonstrated how and why a robot can enter a home and diffuse a bomb with water.
Kiel was introduced to events the FLEOA puts on by ATF agent Brett Bowers, who has two children who attend Level Creek. Bowers works with the bomb-sniffing dogs like Glow, a chocolate labrador retriever, who was popular among the students. Glow has worked two Super Bowls, a World Series, the last presidential inauguration and will work the Republican and Democratic National Conventions this year.
Bowers said he's participated in 50-60 of these types of events, and students typically ask about the dogs' jobs and how he got his job.
"They get to see a new aspect of law enforcement," Bowers said of the students. "Anytime you can play with trucks, firetrucks, dogs and a helicopter, it's a good time."