'Distracted Danger' page previews:
A new, free educational comic starring Clackamas County Sheriff's Office K-9 deputies Mik & Nero debuts this Wednesday, April 30 at Clackamas County's Wellness, Safety and Sustainability Fair (A poster for the Fair can be found here).
The new comic, "Mik & Nero: Distracted Danger," is a joint production by Oregon Impact and the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office. It follows the disastrous misadventures of a teen driver named Charlie who thinks it's okay to text and drive -- and learns a tough lesson as his life flashes before his eyes following a road mishap caused by his cell-phone use while behind the wheel.
"This comic was created to educate our youth on the risks of distracted driving," writes Oregon Impact Executive Director Janelle Lawrence in the comic's intro. "Texting and cell-phone use significantly increase a driver's risk of crashing. Even a single, momentary distraction while driving can cause a lifetime of devastating consequences."
You can pick up a FREE print copy of "Mik & Nero: Distracted Danger" at the Clackamas County Safe Communities booth at Clackamas County's Wellness, Safety and Sustainability Fair -- set for Wednesday, April 30 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the County's Development Services Building (150 Beavercreek Rd, Oregon City, OR 97045). A poster for the Fair with full details can be found here.
The comic will also be available in print starting May 1 in the lobbies of the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office Brooks Building 9101 SE Sunnybrook Blvd., Clackamas, OR 97015) and the Public Safety Training Center (12700 SE 82nd Avenue, Clackamas, OR 97015). It will also be online as a free downloadable PDF on May 1 on our Mik & Nero webpage, and will be delivered to local Clackamas County libraries in May.
ABOUT THE 'MIK & NERO' SERIES
Nine separate "Mik & Nero" comics and activity books have been produced over the past six years in partnership with other government agencies, non-profit organizations and private sponsors. Nearly 300,000 copies have been printed to date.
They have been distributed free-of-charge through Sheriff's Office programs targeting young people, as well as many other groups and organizations serving that same demographic across Oregon. They're also available through the Clackamas County library system.
Production of the books has largely been paid for by grants from local, state and federal programs, as well as private businesses.
K9s Mik and Nero appear in each book -- based on real Sheriff's Office canine deputies Mik and Nero. The dogs help teach young readers about road safety, saying "no" to abuse, and the dangers of drugs and drinking and driving, among other topics.
COMICS IN THE SERIES:
- Issue #1, "Mik & Nero in 'Methed Up!,'" is aimed at readers ages 9-12. It tells the story of two talking K-9 unit dogs -- Mik and Nero -- taking part in an arrest at a trailer full of meth-addicted thieves who are stealing metal and mail. After an action-packed opening, the two dogs find themselves in hot pursuit of one of the criminals. It gives the dogs a chance to talk about the bad decisions that led the perp to his sorry plight.
- Issue #2, "Safety Street!," is aimed at younger readers. Based on an actual educational attraction for kids, it tells the story of a young boy at a fair who sees a sign for something called "Safety Street" with an irresistible sales pitch: "Hey, kids! Drive cars & learn!" The boy is ushered to a (possibly magical) pedal-car -- and Mik and Nero give him a guided tour as he rides up to various signs and intersections, learning about road, bike and pedestrian safety.
- Issue #3, "Teen Drinking: The Hardest Lesson," is a powerful look at the consequences of underage drinking and driving -- told through the eyes of a middle-schooler who watches his older brother's life self-destruct.
- Issue #4, "Tough Medicine," features the return of Carly, a character in Issue #4. Carly is still making bad choices. She's been taking and dealing stolen prescription drugs. When Mik and Nero help find those drugs in her school locker, Carly is forced to deal with the consequences of her mistakes. This action-packed comic -- aimed at kids ages 10 and up -- teaches readers about the very real dangers of prescription drugs.
- Issue #5, "Distracted Danger," follows the disastrous misadventures of a teen driver named Charlie who thinks it's okay to text and drive -- and learns a tough lesson as his life flashes before his eyes following a road mishap caused by his cell-phone use while behind the wheel.
ACTIVITY BOOKS IN THE SERIES:
- Activity Book #1, "The Bubble Book," is a coloring book that helps responsible adults teach children that each of us has a personal space "bubble" that helps keep us safe. The dogs help children learn that their personal space, and their bodies, belong to them -- and what they should do if someone violates their safe "bubble."
- Activity Book #2, "The Safety Street! Coloring and Activity Book," is a companion piece to the "Safety Street!" comic -- featuring puzzles, mazes and even a board game to reinforce lessons about road, bicycle and pedestrian safety.
- In Activity Book #3, "Meet The Deputies," K-9 Deputies Mik and Nero give young readers an action-packed tour of the Sheriff's Office -- and show kids how THEY can get involved.
- Activity Book #4, "The Case of the Strange House," introduces readers to Chloe, who thinks there may be a drug dealer living across the street. She does the right thing and tells the police -- helping them to clean up her neighborhood. In this coloring and activity book, K-9 Deputies Mik and Nero teach young readers how they can work with police to help keep the streets safe.
"Teaching Moment" pages at the end of each issue give readers online links for even more safety info.
MEET THE REAL MIK AND NERO
The real Mik and Nero have enjoyed real-life exploits worthy of their cartoon adventures.
Nero is a Shepherd/Malanois mix. He was born in March 2005 and raised in the Czech Republic. The Sheriff's Office purchased Nero from Adlerhorst International in Riverside, CA in November 2006, when the dog was only 18 months old.
Mik and Nero went through the same basic 240-hour K9 training course together in the winter of 2007. After graduation, Nero was assigned to work the swing shift with Deputy Bradley O'Neil. Nero can't wait to go to work each night, and prefers working in the dark. When Nero is on patrol, he tracks suspects who run from crime scenes and finds articles suspects try to hide while fleeing. When Nero is relaxing off-duty, he loves to play with a weighted exercise ball in the backyard of his Clackamas home.
Mik was a Belgian Malanois, born in April 2003. He passed away in 2010. He was raised as a sporting dog in Holland, and was chosen and purchased by the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office in November 2006.
"We can't think of a better way to honor Mik's service than by letting him live on in these comics," said Clackamas County Sheriff Craig Roberts.
A FEATURES-PACKED WEB PAGE
On the "Mik & Nero" webcomic page, readers can download low-rez versions of the comics and activity books as PDFs.
Links on the sides of the Web page allow kids to learn more about the real Mik and Nero, find links to drug resources, and look at concept art from the comic. There's even a link if the kids want to send the dogs fan mail.
Anyone interested in ordering a print run of any of the "Mik & Nero" books can e-mail Patrick Sherman for details.
Sergeant Nathan Thompson
Office of Public Information
Clackamas County Sheriff's Office