We hope you have been learning a lot about our partnerships in Gwinnett County through our Gwinnett collaboration blog series. So far, we have covered Gwinnett County Parks and Recreation, the Communications Department and the Gwinnett County Public School System. Our next collaboration to highlight is law enforcement, so fasten your seat belts and enjoy the ride!
We have had a great relationship with the local police departments in Gwinnett for several years. They help promote our positive messages, enforce safe alcohol sales across the county and keep our roads safe. Without the work of our police, Gwinnett would not be where it is today in preventing and reducing youth access to alcohol.
We cannot thank our partners in law enforcement enough! Here are a few reasons why we say “THANK YOU”:
T – TIME: Our local police departments take time to train underage decoys and conduct compliance checks. Through our many underage drinking prevention initiatives, we have funded and continue to fund compliance checks for unincorporated Gwinnett County and the cities of Duluth, Lawrenceville, Lilburn and Snellville. By conducting these checks, the police are making sure that employees are checking IDs and not selling alcohol to anyone underage. Not only does this help prevent access to alcohol for minors, it reminds the alcohol retailers and the community that this issue is important and not taken lightly.
H – HELP: Local police officers help us plan our many initiatives by attending our Gwinnett Alcohol Prevention Project committee meetings and sharing their feedback based on what they experience out in the field. They also inform us of the issues they see related to underage drinking and any useful data that could impact our strategies. The officers continue to help us by distributing our prevention materials out in the community at presentations they conduct or events they attend.
A – AWARENESS: Officers make it a priority to bring awareness to the community the risk factors around underage drinking and drinking and driving. For example, we partner with the City of Snellville’s Cop/Cab program. The car, which is half a cop car and half a taxi-cab, is stationed around the city and county with the slogan, “Choose Your Ride.” This program serves as a reminder to the community that they have a choice to make. They can either choose to call a cab or Uber after drinking, or they can choose to drive while intoxicated and ride in a cop car and receive a DUI. This charge can cost around $10,000 in bail, fines, fees and insurance. Wherever the Cop/Cab is stationed, our prevention materials are distributed.
N – NOTEWORTHY: Our law enforcement strives for excellence and continues to go above and beyond, which makes them noteworthy. The two detectives from the Gwinnett County Police Department that conduct compliance checks every month are very dedicated to keeping alcohol out of the reach of our youth. They were instrumental in helping us collect more data from the stores that sell to the decoy, which has allowed us to track more trends over time and see that the majority of the employees that sell are of various ethnicities and cultures. This helps inform our strategies and reminds us that practicing cultural competence is key to addressing these findings in an effective way.
K – KNOWLEDGEABLE: Local police departments are very knowledgeable about the dangers of underage drinking and want to continue to learn and share our information and resources with others. Whenever we have attended events with our local police departments, there are always several officers that want to share our information, such as our Save Brains campaign. They don’t just share this information among their fellow officers, but they are willing to share our materials in their own communities at home, at their church, etc. They help root us into all areas of the community and share the knowledge we have had the opportunity to provide them with others we would not have been able to reach otherwise.
Y – YOUTH: Law enforcement values our youth by involving them in their programs and educating them about safety at public safety nights every year. This year at the Lilburn National Night Out event, our Youth Advisory Board conducted a prevention obstacle course to show participants the effects alcohol can have on reaction time, balance and coordination. One of the police officers from Lilburn assisted us with the course and discussed the dangers related to drinking and driving with several youth participants. He also demonstrated with them how police officers conduct sobriety tests.
O – OPPORTUNITIES: There are several opportunities for us to partner with our local police departments, and they are willing to continue to expand those partnerships and work with us. Many of the partnerships we have with the local police departments began with working together to conduct compliance checks and then expanded to more collaboration over time. One example is that, now, we work with the Duluth, Lilburn and Snellville Police Departments to distribute some of our public awareness campaigns, such as the CDC Parents Are the Key campaign.
U – URGENCY: The police have a sense of urgency when it comes to keeping our communities healthy and safe. For example, the Gwinnett County Police Department holds “Coffee with a Cop” events throughout the year for anyone in the community to attend and spend time discussing topics of interest with local police officers. This shows how dedicated our law enforcement is to hearing the needs of the community and setting up a system to more quickly address those areas of concern. We have had the pleasure of attending one of these events and sharing why underage drinking prevention is important for Gwinnett with some of our officers. It truly offers a unique opportunity to build capacity with our law enforcement, and we look forward to attending more of these events in the future.
The list could go on and on with the reasons why we appreciate our local law enforcement. We think the work that they do is extremely important and challenge you to take the time to thank your local police officers. A small token of appreciation can go a long way and these officers help keep Gwinnett safe and healthy!
For more information about ways you can show appreciation to your local officers, contact Michael Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org.