(WTVM) - The attempted abduction in Columbus over the weekend is a reminder that evil people are out there and your children need to have a plan to guard against them.
There's a reason Lee County Corporal and School Resource Officer Pam Revels has been named national school resource officer of the year. She's highly dedicated to her job of protecting kids and arming them with life-saving knowledge.
She's urging all parents to sit down with their kids as young as two or three and talk about stranger dangers, help them figure out an action plan, and teach them to fight back.
"Defend themselves, they can use pepper is what we tell the little kids, the little punches in the eyes, and we teach them shin kicks ands well, just like that," said Cpl. Revels.
She said don't be fooled by a false sense of security.
"If a bad person wants to be bad, it doesn't matter where they are at," Cpl. Revels said.
First, teach your children strangers don't look like monsters.
"We talk about what bad strangers could look like, because they don't always look bad, that is very important for our children to know," she said.
Second, teach your kids to not be fooled by tricks or lures potential kidnappers like to use. This weekend, Columbus police reported a man used a puppy to get a child closer to his car.
"They will also use tricks to try and get children to come away with them, using small animals, food anything that sounds like fun, or possibly to try and get them to help them," Cpl. Revels said.
Finally, teach your kids to do whatever they can to not be taken away. Teach them how to physically defend themselves, fight back and cause a scene by yelling.
"'Stay back, you are not my mom, stay back you are not my dad,' because help is used a lot of time, some folks will even say fire, but 'stay back you are not my mom' alerts others in the area that you are in a panic," she said.
Every summer, the Lee County Sheriff's Office puts on a RAD class for kids, where children as young as three are taught how to physically defend themselves from a kidnapper.
Lee County also hosts a free Junior Deputy Academy Summer Camp that also talks about stranger danger.
Corporal Revels says she will sit down with any family, at anytime and help you begin this important conversation within your family; just call her at the sheriff's office.
For more information, visit the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children's official website.