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New program educates parents on warning signs for troubled teens

Bedford Town Police, Horizon Behavioral Health launch new program ‘Hidden in Plain Sight’

BEDFORD, Va. – Do you know what your children are hiding in their rooms?

A new program and a first in Central Virginia is helping parents keep their eyes open and teens out of trouble.

On Tuesday, Sgt. Jonathan Chilcott set up a mock teen’s bedroom, for 10 News, and filled it with items that look normal to the naked eye.

“This water bottle here actually contains water, but it opens up,” Chilcott said.

The top half is a water bottle, while the bottom has secret storage.
The top half is a water bottle, while the bottom has secret storage. (WSLS)

A water bottle is one of the items teens could be using to hide things from you. That’s not all.

“These are actually sold to look like tampons, but they are in fact alcohol flasks,” Chilcott said.

Made to appear like tampons, they're actually flasks.
Made to appear like tampons, they're actually flasks.

The police department and Horizon Behavioral Health specialists are working together to help parents or guardians look for warning signs of drug use, self-harm, mental and behavioral issues.

“Are they trying all these challenges and everything that are going online. For example, the Tide Pod challenge, I know we saw that, that could be very harmful,” Brittany Holts, prevention specialist, said.

The new program called “Hidden in Plain Sight” is led by Chilcott and Holts. Horizon helped fund the $4,000 program.

“Some of the items here are not in of themselves bad things,” Chilcott said. “Right here we have gummy bears. What we’re seeing a lot at schools is juveniles soaking the gummy bears in some type of vodka and then bringing them to school and getting drunk, in school."

A new program and a first in Central Virginia is helping parents keep their eyes open and teens out of trouble.
A new program and a first in Central Virginia is helping parents keep their eyes open and teens out of trouble. (WSLS)

A lot of this stuff could be bought online and because of that, the department is also educating parents about what to look for on bank statements.

Chilcott said the goal is to get mom and dad to ask questions, before it’s too late.

“Once a parent goes through this program or an adult goes through this program who deals with juveniles. It’s going to make them sit down and have this conversation,” Chilcott said.

The police department plans on holding its first event later this year.

Officers say they're ready to travel anywhere local to hold sessions.

If you’re interested call Bedford Police Department at 540-587-6011 or police@bedfordva.gov.


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