Cop Corner

By Officer Ken McNeill
Pleasanton Police Department

Just a few days ago, Foothill students watched the annual Every 15 Minutes presentation, a mock fatal traffic collision followed by the true-to-life aftermath for those involved. If you saw it then, or in the past at Amador Valley High School, I hope it made an impact on the choices you will make about drinking. It should.

I believe for many of you, Every 15 Minutes is valuable and has some lasting effect. For others, it was just a couple days to get out of class. How sad for you.

As an officer, I participated in the program by reading obituaries in classrooms and standing by as parents identified their “victim” children at the mortuary. I’ve done it for several years.

In real life, I have responded to fatal traffic collisions where there is real blood – everywhere -- and broken bones, screaming and crying, the smell of gasoline, burnt rubber, airbag dust, alcohol, brake fluid, radiator fluid and the indescribable smell of just … I don’t know. But it’s something you don’t forget.

I’ve knocked on people’s doors not knowing how exactly I was going to tell them that a member of their family is dead as a result of a traffic collision. There’s no class for that at the police academy. I don’t want to knock on the door at your house.

But when it comes down to it, some of you will still choose to drink and drive. Some of you will get in the car with a drunken driver. It’s a selfish choice. Most who make this poor choice will get away with it. Unfortunately, a few others will pay the price. It happens every year somewhere in the Bay Area. It’s the highest price you can pay. Don’t let it be you.

So if the effects of Every 15 Minutes are already in your distant memory, then consider this is a reminder: When alcohol and driving mix, the outcome is never good. Don’t drink and drive. It’s not worth it.  

You can contact Officer Ken McNeill at 931-5233 or kmcneill@ci.pleasanton.ca.us.

Posted April 21, 2010