Longtime Arvada residents remember fondly the big guy driving the Arvada Police Department VW Bug with the unlikely name, “Siren Says.” The car was decorated with large eyes framed by long eyelashes and smiling lips.
Most kids recognized the driver, Arvada Safety Officer Ed McCarthy; and some called the car, “the Love Bug”. McCarthy used “Siren Says” to patrol the city and make many contacts in shopping centers, schools and parks in his attempts to promote safety and police-community relations. Ed was a familiar presence at civic events and in the Harvest Festival Parade.
The Arvada Bicycle Rodeo Program was begun by Ed as another way of promoting safety while supplying entertainment for the participants. A tract was laid out on a playground or large, safe area so participants could demonstrate their skill in riding through an obstacle course and show their knowledge of traffic laws, turn signals and right-of-way. Ed personally checked each individual bicycle for lights, brakes and reflectors and issued a Bicycle License to those who passed the tests.
Another favorite was “Safety Town”, a simulated town with streets, traffic signals and signs, designed for safety instruction with children ranging in age from 5- to 8-years-old. They rode motorized, miniature cars observing traffic rules. It is estimated that thousands of kids participated in this.
He initiated “The Helping Hand Program” with carefully selected families who gave safe refuges for children on their way to and home from school. Also, well trained school crossing guards were an important part of his safety promotion.
Ed was made Arvada Man of the Year and nominated for the 9 Who Care Award. He was also a nominee for the J. Edgar Hoover Gold Medal Award which is presented to Veterans of Foreign Wars. He was a familiar Santa Claus at Christmas time and was regularly seen on Saturday evenings singing Irish ballads to the residents of Ridge Home.
He was the voice of safety for kids, their parents and grandparents for over two generations during the 23 years he served them. The Irish policeman, originally from Boston, was easily recognizable by his smile, twinkling eyes and an easy laugh.
In a letter to a local paper, McCarthy wrote, “I loved my job, the people and the children. I did the best I could.”