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Citizens’ Police Academy covers distracted driving - week three (Audio & Video included)

Thursday marked the third meeting of the second class of the Bellefontaine Police Department's Citizens' Police Academy.

Distracted driving was the first topic and the instructor was John Gordon. John lost his son John "Rusty" Gordon on May 18th, 2008 to a distracted driver in Marion County. Since his son's death John has spent a lot of time advocating the importance of not texting while driving and educating officers on what distracted driving is. I felt that Gordon put on a great presentation because of his passion for the subject. He told me following his lecture that he does it in honor of his son. Another thing that made me feel the importance of distracted driving on society was the dashboard footage from law enforcement agencies across the country. These camera angles give you as close to a first person perspective as possible without being in the accident and you could feel the seriousness of the situation watching the accident unfold.

(Pictured: Gordon during his presentation)

Gordon speaks about distracted driving.

Bellefontaine auxiliary officer Seth Stolly presented on juvenile procedure. The juvenile court system was established during 1899 in the United States and was designed to rehabilitate rather than punish. One thing that I learned is that most kids in the juvenile system are not hardened criminals like they are sometimes made out to be and with the right help can be set straight. Stolly’s presentation also touched a little on drugs and the lengths kids will go through to possess and use them. K2/K3 or “Spice” was one drug that was discussed at length. I was amazed how cleverly disguised it can be. “Spice” often times comes in small packets that are usually labeled as potpourri or incense and has a warning on the back that states “not for human consumption.”

Stolly comments on juvenile procedure.

Bellefontaine patrol officer Roger Hager discussed a patrol officer's functions. He spoke about how officers on patrol are often times first responders and are often the eyes of the community. He did stress the importance of the community being vigilant and helping to inform the department about suspicious activity in their neighborhoods. It sometimes can come down to just one call to get an officer to a location and possibly prevent a crime. They can only stop what they can see and sometimes it is nice to have another set of eyes in the community to help guide them to where they are needed.

Hager discusses a patrol officer’s functions.

After this week’s class I spoke with fellow CPA student Mel Fullerton. She told me that she was not aware of the drug issues that kids these days face everyday. She also said that the issue is scary because most parents do not understand their kids’ situations.

I also asked her why she chose to be a part of the academy. She told me that she has two sons in law enforcement and she wanted to know a little bit about what they face. She also wanted to learn about her local department and how to help the community.

Fullerton comments on the evening.

I was also asked to pass along the academy’s gratitude towards Fazoli’s for providing our pre-class meal. As well as thank Lee’s Chicken (week 2) and Jessica Stolly/Sugared Rose (week 1) for the meals they have provided to the academy during previous weeks.

Next Thursday our class will learn about speed measuring devices and traffic stops/OVI enforcement.

For further reading about the academy, check out my previous week's article by clicking here.

You need flash player installed in order to view this video.
Watch part of Gordon’s distracted driving presentation.

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