Hermantown Hosts 11th Annual Public Safety Expo

By KBJR News 1

August 21, 2010 Updated Aug 21, 2010 at 7:24 PM CDT

HERMANTOWN, MINN. --- 43 public safety agencies gathered in Hermantown on Saturday to show crowds the various tricks of the trade, all part of the 11th annual Public Safety Expo.

"It's more user-friendly because we're not responding to an emergency," Hermantown Deputy Chief Shawn Padden said. "We have time to talk to people and the kids and show them what we do."

One of those things was a police canine demonstration, an event that's always popular at the expo.

"People love the canine," Padden said. "We have a great canine program in this area with the Duluth PD and the sheriff's department and they're fabulous assisting with other agencies as needed."

"There's kind of a public perception that these dogs are really aggressive," St. Louis County Undersheriff Dave Phillips said, "when, in fact, to the canine, this is all play."

Entertainment is a large part of the expo, but so is educating children on the role public safety agencies play in the community.

"To this day I can remember the first time a police officer came to our classroom," Phillips said. "I was blown away and it was really cool. Even back then I thought it might be something I'd like to do."

The annual expo is far larger than a single classroom visit, but for many at the event, the work is well worth it.

"It's like planning a wedding," Padden said. "It's biting your fingernails until the day comes and then it's time to relax and enjoy it."

This year's event also featured a driving simulator and a helicopter rappelling demonstration.

Posted by Zach Schneider