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Police seek to curb problems at new skate park
skate park pic 7
The Turlock Police Department has received a number of complaints about safety issues since the new Brandon Koch Memorial Skate Park opened on Aug. 19. - photo by Journal file photo

A number of safety issues at the new Brandon Koch Memorial Skate Park, located in Donnelly Park, has prompted the Turlock Police Department to host two community meetings in an effort to educate local skaters and their parents on the park's rules and regulations.

The meetings will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday and 1 p.m. Saturday at Donnelly Park Area C, located just west of the skate park. Acting Turlock Police Chief Nino Amirfar said that the purpose of the meetings is to "educate (the public) on the Turlock Municipal Code and the proper use of the skate park."

According to Amirfar, there have been a number of safety concerns reported to the police department since the skate park's soft opening on Aug. 19 (the skate park's grand opening ceremony is scheduled for 10 a.m. Sept. 24). Those concerns include incidents of bullying, graffiti, the use of bicycles at the skate park and skaters not wearing helmets.

One of the most troubling issues to Amirfar is the number of kids not wearing helmets. He said that while recently visiting the park he saw an 8-year-old girl riding a bicycle on the ramps while not wearing a helmet. The young rider, who also did not have parental supervision, crashed her bike and suffered a head injury.

That incident highlighted a number of problems the skate park is seeing, said Amirfar:  Bicycles are prohibited at the skate park, helmets are required at all times and children under the age of 14 must be accompanied by an adult while at the skate park.

At the community meetings, the police department and other City of Turlock representatives will go over all the rules of the skate park.

"We will educate skaters and their parents on the rules and then move on to enforcement," said Amirfar.