National Award for Chico PD Teen Drunk Driving Program

Sacramento — The program is called “Every 15 Minutes”. The program was funded in part by a grant from the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control under the GALE (Grant Assistance to Local Law Enforcement) Project.

The “Every 15 Minute” program consisted of an intense two-day event that focused on high school juniors and seniors which challenged them to think about drinking alcoholic beverages, personal safety, and the responsibility of making mature decisions when lives are involved. The Chico Police Department was notified of the National League of Cities award by the organization’s Executive Director, Donald J. Borut. Winning in the Community Policing and Businesses category, Chico will be presented with the award at a National League of Cities Convention on December 10, 1996, in San Antonio, Texas.

Chico Police Officer Melody Davidson, who spearheaded a community wide involvement in the “Every 15 Minutes” program, said the program was developed on the premise that generally, “teens do care very deeply about others, especially their friends and families.” Said Davidson, “By creating an intense, realistic simulation of their ‘death’ students could see very clearly how much pain they would cause others by making poor decisions regarding the use of alcohol……”

Twenty-four students from the two Chico High Schools were chosen to become the living dead for a day. Every 15 minutes, the “Grim Reaper” would take a student from a classroom and a police officer would read the student’s obituary which mentioned the cause of death as being alcohol-related.

A mock fatal DUI collision was staged on the school grounds with a number of safety agencies involved, including the fire department, the police department, California Highway Patrol, ambulance crews, and the coroner’s office. The collision depicted a drunk driver, a fatal victim, and a seriously injured victim who later died at the hospital. Mock death notifications were given to the students parents, and the students were housed overnight at a local hotel to give the impression of being “gone” to both parents and their friends.

The next day, a student assembly was held with the “living dead” students as well as representatives from community organizations giving a presentation on how making the wrong decisions can affect many people. Students as well a community leaders said they felt their was a strong impact on those who participated and observed the two-day event. At the conclusion of the program, an operational plan was developed which is available to other communities along with a thirty (30) minute documentary video depicting how the program was put together. The operational plan is designed to work for any type of agency, school or organization and is not exclusively for use by law enforcement. The Chico Enloe Hospital emergency/trauma teams, community service organizations and businesses also participated and supported the program. The National League of Cities award is the second honor received by the Chico Police Department for the Every 15 Minutes program. In September, the Department received a California Crime Prevention Award for Public Agencies from the California Crime Prevention Officers Association.

Anyone interested in receiving more information about the program can call Officer Melody Davidson at the Chico Police Department, (916)895-4720.

Carl De Wing
Public Information Officer
California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control
E-Mail: C.DeWing@ABC.CA.GOV

Bob Stribling, Network Administrator,
California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control
E-Mail: sys580@nic.tdcnet.ca.gov URL: http://www.abc.ca.gov
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