The community is rocked by a troubling incident at Juneau’s Twin Lakes Park, and concerns have been raised over playground safety. At least two kids needed medical attention last week after coming into touch with bear spray that had been sprayed on a playground slide without permission. City officials acted quickly in response to the incident, sealing the impacted area and casting doubt on the viability of adding surveillance cameras for increased protection.

The initial report of a child finding an irritant on one of the playground slides was received last Tuesday, which marked the start of the experience. After further examination, it was discovered that children utilizing the playground were at risk since bear spray had been sprayed on the slide. The playground was swiftly closed by the city’s parks and recreation staff so that they could pressure wash and scrub the area in order to disinfect and sanitize it.

But during that week, there was another report of a wounded child, which raised more alarms and prompted the city to close both of the playground’s slides indefinitely. The director of parks and leisure for the city, George Schaaf, acknowledged the challenges in thoroughly cleaning the impacted slides and said that, in spite of their best efforts, replacing the slides might be the best course of action if they are unable to guarantee the safety of the younger guests.

The event has sparked concerns about the playground’s security protocols, particularly the installation of surveillance cameras. Schaaf pointed out that thorough video coverage is hampered by the playground’s distinctive design, which incorporates elaborate buildings and niches. The park was restored in 2017 following a fire, which sparked conversations regarding security precautions. However, it is still not feasible to put enough cameras to cover the entire space.

The city of Juneau is asking anyone with knowledge about the bear spray incident to get in touch with the local police department in response to the occurrence. The event is a sobering reminder of how crucial it is to protect kids’ safety and wellbeing in public areas and how communities must unite to confront these kinds of security issues. Many people in Juneau are optimistic that improved safety protocols will stop similar occurrences from happening in the future, enabling kids to enjoy playgrounds without worry, as the city deals with this depressing incident.