For about 10 years, Sheriff Dave Zoellner and other members of the Leavenworth County Sheriff's Office have been visiting the preschool at Trinity Lutheran Church in Leavenworth.

For about 10 years, Sheriff Dave Zoellner and other members of the Leavenworth County Sheriff's Office have been visiting the preschool at Trinity Lutheran Church in Leavenworth.

"It seems to be an annual event," the sheriff said.

Zoellner began the practice when he was still an undersheriff. He since has been elected to two terms as sheriff. He was back at the preschool Wednesday, administering an oath to make children junior deputies.

And this marks the last year for Zoellner's participation in the program. He will be retiring as sheriff in January.

Zoellner said the program presented at Trinity is important because it teaches the children about things such as stranger danger and possible hazards from household products.

He said the visits also are good for the officers because they enjoy interacting with the children.

"It's a lot of fun to be here," he told one group of preschoolers Wednesday.

Zoellner's talk with the children was only a portion of the program.
Deputy Connie Anderson talked with children about things such as how to safely cross the street and when it's appropriate to call 911.

Cpl. Michael Hudson allowed students to climb inside his patrol vehicle. But he warned that he only wanted to see children in the back seat of his car on this one occasion.

Deputy Loren Hubbard talked to children about the sheriff's canine, Abel. Hubbard is the handler for the dog.

"I have him with me every day I go to work," he said.

In his oath, Zoellner asked children to pledge to mind their parents, listen to their teachers and be kind to animals.

Zoellner said he will miss the annual visits to the preschool.

"I will miss all of it," he said of the job of sheriff.

Wednesday's visit to Trinity came the day after Andy Dedeke was elected to serve as the next sheriff. Dedeke currently serves as a captain in the Sheriff's Office.

"I think that he's the right person for the job," Zoellner said.