Jennifer Baxter and Wynn Carney of the Pembroke Police Department recently attended the National League of Cities’ 2008 Congress of Cities and Exposition where they were invited to showcase the I.M.P.A.C.T. program operated by the department.
Larry Foxman of the National League of Cities said the programs chosen for the City Showcase were intended for educational and networking purposes among thousands of city officials who were eager to learn about such programs.
"Programs are chosen based on innovation, adaptability to other cities, implementation costs, cost savings or revenue, measurements of success and prior awards and recognition of the program," Foxman said.
Pembroke’s Police Department was one of 5 police departments, nation wide invited to attend. Foxman said that the league tried to choose cities that represent a cross section of population sizes and geographic diversity.
"There were people from Denver, Colo., Chicago, Ill, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Washington, and there was a lot of excitement from mayors’ councils, judges and other departments about our programs. I think their interest shows that [Pembroke] may be a small department, but we can make a real difference," Baxter said.
"We teach other departments how to implement the programs to they can make them available to their citizens and youth," she said.
I.M.P.A.C.T, which stands for Informed Minds Preventing Auto Crashes of Teens, is one of the programs showcased at NLC. Also included in the exposition was Pembroke’s S.A.D.D program, Junior 911 and Georgia Pride program.
Baxter said some of the different programs include mock car crashes, drunk goggles that simulate what it feels like to be drunk in the daytime and nighttime, and a ghost out program where students are dressed in black shirts, white face paint and are not to communicate with fellow students or adults to indicate the numbers of children that die in a given amount of time.
"These programs allow the kids to get involved and to teach others what they learn. They get a sense the issues are real. For them, seeing the number of people and kids that die in car crashes as a result of drunk driving is a reality check. The message comes across a lot stronger than an adult just telling them what they aren’t supposed to be doing," Baxter said.
"There are a lot of educational items available, so to be invited to something like this and have mayors, council members and judges from across the nation say they are impressed by our programs, it’s special," she said.