May 20, 2014

Merced police present student assemblies

Merced police are making presentations this week for eighth graders at five Merced middle schools.

Merced police are making presentations this week for eighth-graders at five Merced middle schools to encourage them to make good decisions in life as they head to high school.

The title of the assembly is “Live Out Loud” and is presented by Motivational Media Assemblies of Burbank.

“All of this is intertwined with true-life stories of decisions that teenagers made on serious issues such as drinking, drugs, bullying and driving,” Lance Eber, crime analyst and grant director for the Merced Police Department, said in a press release.

“Not only does it have a positive message about life in general, but it also includes several real stories about driving and what the negative impacts of making poor decisions while sitting behind the steering wheel can do to a person and family.”

The Burbank group uses three large-size projection screens for their presentation, which includes scenes from movies, music videos and sporting events, as well as cameo appearances by sports, television and movie celebrities.

“We have done these assemblies the last three years at high schools and middle schools. This year, we’re reaching out to eighth-graders just before they graduate and become high-schoolers,” Eber said in the press release. “The presentation is very action-packed to keep the interest of the students.”

Through a grant funded by the California Office of Traffic Safety, the Police Department is using funds to sponsor assemblies at Weaver Middle School, Rivera Middle School, Tenaya Middle School, Cruickshank Middle School and Hoover Middle School.

In addition to the school assemblies, the funding from the California Office of Traffic Safety allows police to conduct special DUI enforcement operations, including checkpoints and saturation patrols where officers are on duty to specifically target drunken drivers.

Other operations include court stings, stakeouts and warrant services, all directed toward persons who have had their license suspended or revoked due to a DUI arrest or conviction, but continue to get behind the wheel of a vehicle.

During 2013, the Police Department reported 260 DUI arrests, 331 speeding violations, 320 cellphone violations and 132 seat belt violations. Additionally, officers responded to 1,564 calls for service for crashes resulting in 390 injuries and nine fatalities.

The focus of the school presentations is to make sure students understand the consequences of poor decisions so they can avoid them, according to the press release.

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