On May 11 and 12 Officers of the Mesquite Police Department, in cooperation with various public service agencies and community action groups planned, staged, operated and controlled a two-day intensive program named ‘Every 15 Minutes’ at the Virgin Valley High School. The program is directed at reducing the number of DUI Alcohol/Drug related incidents. The program also gives citizens along with high school juniors and seniors an up-close and very personal view of the consequences.
The program involves a fatal, traffic accident with all of its accompanying public safety and medical responses. The scenario was thoroughly staged from the 911 dispatch to the coroner and Virgin Valley morticians toe tagging and picking up a dead body. Police Sgt. Jordan Bundy left no stone unturned when he set the scene; Mercy Air even came and picked up the ‘critically injured’ student.
The scene was set as real and authentic as could be to show students exactly what procedures are followed and what happens to each and every victim involved in an accident with no holds barred.
You may think, “It’ll never happen to me or my children, my kid doesn’t drink.” What if your child isn’t the driver? What if your child is under peer pressure to get in the vehicle? What if…? Isn’t it better to be prepared so you ensure yourself that you will never be on the receiving end of a phone call some county coroner, somewhere, has to make every 15 minutes?
Students sat in bleachers beside the street and watched as their friends and classmates were being cut out of the car with the Jaws of Life, walked to the waiting ambulance, handcuffed and arrested or loaded up in the helicopter to be flown nearly 100 miles to Las Vegas because it’s the closest place for trauma care. They even watched as their friend laid there, his brains spilling out, dead on the street, while they took care of the survivors first.
After the initial accident scene had been processed, victims taken care of and the drunk driving teen taken to jail, Officer Wilkins read the obituaries of the dead teens and the school day began.
Detective Craig Empey, dressed as the Grim Reaper, continued to pull one ‘dead’ child out of class every 15 minutes; these
‘dead’ kids could not speak or interact with anyone for the remainder of the 30-hour project. They had no cell phones and no contact with their parents; they were kept isolated in a hotel overnight. The experience is very unique. Parents are kept informed and had given their consent for their child’s participation.
Yes, this is all a very harsh and brutal scenario but it’s not nearly as harsh as the reality, because every 15 minutes this scenario is the most horrible, absolute and forever after reality to one or more teens, to their parents and to the community.
The Mesquite Police feel that this program and its intent is so important they want to establish an ongoing coalition with the resources and agencies that were involved with the ‘Every 15 Minutes’ program so that the it can be implemented on a bi-annual basis. The goal is to target all high school kids in their junior and senior years.
Sgt. Bundy took charge and he, along with the other public services agencies, worked for months to coordinate and stage this very well executed and eerily accurate event. “Chief Tanner wants to publicly thank Sergeant Jordan Bundy for spearheading this event and putting so much of his own time into ensuring it was successful.”
An assembly followed the 30-hour program which allowed the students, involved parents and motivational speakers the chance to share their experiences.
Some will listen and take heed and, sadly, some won’t; there were mocking voices, snickers and giggles while some of the wrap up was going on.
Parents are urged to discuss the choices and consequences of drinking/drugs/texting while driving with their children because these types of accidents are 100 percent preventable.
For more information on the ‘Every 15 Minutes’ program go to: http://www.everyfifteenminutes.org/aboutus/