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Kids go backstage at airport

Youths enrolled in the city’s Summer Daze day camp learned how airport police and fire departments handle emergencies and fight crime during a tour of Bob Hope Airport on Wednesday.

Police officers demonstrated the T3 electric stand-up vehicle’s siren and flashing lights. Its three-wheel design boasts a tiny turning circle, which makes it easy to maneuver small spaces.

“We can use it inside and outside the airport terminal and on sidewalks,” said Sgt. Tom Davenport, of the airport police department. “It works well for us.”

Youngsters also watched as airport police Officer Steve Saucedo demonstrated shooting a target with a Taser gun before showing them the Taser dart that penetrates the perpetrator’s skin.


“It doesn’t go in that far,” he said. “We take the person to the emergency room and the doctor pulls it out.”

Next, Recreation Leader Chloe Hunt was handcuffed by camper Gracie Sessinghaus, 11, who will enter sixth grade at Luther Burbank in the fall.

“It was funny,” Gracie said. “I was thinking, ‘She’s so nice to me and I’m doing this to her.’”

Hunt said it was the first time she had been handcuffed.


“It was embarrassing because it was done by one of my kids,” she said.

Firefighter Mike Sanchez explained how he and his colleagues spend a lot of their time training for emergencies.

“We have to know the airport like the back of our hand,” he said. “We have to prepare for the unexpected.”

Firefighter Kyle Humphrey explained to the children that the silver firefighting pants and jackets worn by airport firefighters have an extra layer of protection, compared to the yellow pants and jackets worn by firefighters who fight residential fires. The protective clothing and air tank can add up to 75 pounds.

But the final demonstration of the day — watching the Aircraft Rescue Firefighting vehicle spew its heavy stream of water — was the one the children liked the best. The more than 80 children lined up in a single line and waited for the truck to make its two passes, each time responding with shrieks of joy.