Young leaves school for trails in summerBy NIKKI ROWELL,
With warmer weather on its way, Northsiders are gearing up for all the summer activities that are available in the area, from biking to boating.
Officers with Ridgeland Police Department will be working to ensure the safety of those partaking in all the summer fun.
Scott Young, who works as a school resource officer for Olde Towne Middle School, spends his summer, while school is out, patrolling the trails in Ridgeland.
“When school ends, we go out to the trail in the middle of May through July,” Young said. “That’s our summer assignment.”
Throughout the summer, he spends time getting to know residents and making sure their time spent on the trails is safe.
Young said they handle everything from checking out tips for suspicious activity to making sure cyclists are wearing their helmets.
“The main thing is being visible,” Young said. “I’ll move around throughout the day and go to different trailheads and ride a while and observe the parking lots.”
He also spends a lot of his time out on a bicycle riding the trails.
“It’s something I like to do,” Young said. “I like to be active, so that’s in my wheelhouse to stay moving.”
The Ridgeland Police Department has a police bike outfitted with a siren and lights.
“I just enjoyed it,” he said of the bike patrols. “It felt like being a kid again riding a bike.”
The job sparked enough interest in Young that he purchased his first road bike that summer.
“I started riding,” he said. “And, of course, the mayor is a big cyclist. He invited me for some rides. Then, I did the Century ride and some others.”
While he is out on the trails, he also spends time looking out for people showing signs of physical distress.
“I stop and check on them,” he said. “We have an elderly population that gets out there, so I make a point to get out there and look out for them.”
Usually, this means helping to make sure people who are struggling can get to a water stop to cool down for a minute.
Young stresses the importance of wearing a helmet while cycling. He once knew an experienced cyclist who blacked out and fell off his bike.
“His helmet was cracked,” Young said. “The doctor came in to look at him and he was fine. But he said if he wasn’t wearing his helmet, he would have died.”
While safety clothing and equipment are important, Young said it is also necessary to stay aware of one’s surroundings and watch out for others.
“If you see something, say something,” he said. “Don’t wait until you see a police officer to report it. You can always call.”
He said it is never a bad idea to look out for others on the trail as a courtesy.
If one is out early in morning or late in the evening, Young said to always go with a group or have a means to communicate with others in the event that something happens.
“Know where you are, in case you have to call 911,” Young said. “That way you can tell them where you are.”