|Every Fifteen Minute Program
Dear Mom and Dad, every fifteen minutes someone in the United States dies from an alcohol related traffic collision, and today I died. I never had the chance to tell you.......
One of the more challenging tasks for law enforcement is to convey the real life consequences of drinking and driving to teenagers. The Every Fifteen Minutes Program is a nationally recognized program that demonstrates a realistic view of what can happen when things go terribly wrong when alcohol and driving are mixed.
The Shawano Police Department, in partnership with the Shawano Community High School, and various other agencies utilize the Every Fifteen Minute Program in an attempt to bring the reality of drinking and driving to the entire student body. On the day of the Every Fifteen Minute Program, the Grim Reaper removes one student from class every 15 minutes. A police officer will immediately enter the classroom to read an obituary which has been written by the "dead" student's parent(s) explaining the circumstances of their classmate's demise and the contributions the student has made to the school and the community. A few minutes later, the student will return to class as the "living dead," complete with white face make-up, a coroner's tag, and a black Every 15 Minutes T-shirt. From that point on "victims" will not speak or interact with other students for the remainder of the school day.
After lunch, a simulated fatal traffic accident is staged on the school grounds. Shawano Ambulance Service paramedics will treat injured students and faculty participants. These students will experience first hand, the sensations of being involved in a tragic, alcohol-related collision. Shawano County Coroner, Marcus Jesse will handle fatalities at the mock scene, while the injured students will be extricated by the jaws-of-life, manned by the Shawano Area Fire Department. The Theda Star Flight for Life will land at the accident scene and transport the injured students by helicopter from the scene. Police Officers from the Shawano Police Department, Wisconsin State Patrol, and Shawano Sheriffs Department will investigate the accident, arrest, and book the student "drunk driver". The deceased will be placed in an actual body bag and removed from the scene by the Born Swedberg Funeral Home.
The student body will continue their experience in the S.C.H.S. gymnasium by viewing an actual hospital emergency room, manned by a E.R. doctor, and staff from the Shawano Medical Center. Students watch as Dr. Vidalakis and the E.R. staff conduct a mock treatment of one of the injured students from the fatal car accident. As the doctor and staff work on the patient, they slowly loose the patient, while a member of the medical staff narrates the entire procedure. The student patient eventually dies and the parent of the participating deceased student enters the emergency room to say good-bye to their deceased child.
After the conclusion of the emergency room demonstration, the booking and processing of the student drunken driver takes place. The entire procedure has been previously video taped at the Shawano County Jail, including the administration of the intoxilyzer. The video is played to the student body in the gymnasium. Afterwards, a mock court scene is portrayed in the gymnasium. Shawano County Circuit Court Judge, Thomas Grover, Shawano County District Attorney, Gary Bruno, and State of Wisconsin Public Defender, Steve Wertz enacts a mock trial in which the student driver faces homicide by intoxicated use charges. The parents of the deceased students are allowed to testify, as well as the injured parties from the accident. At the end of the trial, the judge sentences the student to a prison term.
The entire program is designed to be as realistic as possible. The goal is to depict the reality of drunken driving from every prospective.
Many thanks to SPD Officer's Mike Musolff , Brian Magee and school social worker Kelly Boerboom for their time and effort in this program.
Also a special thank you to: Judge Thomas Grover, Shawano-Menominee County District Attorney Gary Robert Bruno, State Public Defender Steve Wertz, Shawano County Coroner Mike Jesse, Dr. George Vidalakis, Theda Star Flight for Life, Shawnao Medical Center, Wisconsin State Patrol Trooper Heidi Thaves, Shawano County Sheriff's Sgt. Ty Raddant, the Shawano County Sheriff's Department jail staff and dispatchers, Shawano County Clerk of Court Sue Krueger, Shawano Fire Capt. Jeff Zimmerman and the Shawano Area Fire Department, Swedberg Funeral Home, and the teachers and staff from the Shawano Community High School.