“Count your drinks,” the billboards encourage drivers. They are located along major thoroughfares including Highway 74, Highway 1 and Highway 220.
The Richmond County Community Advisory Panel heard from Mac Sanders, the District Attorney’s Office DWI Intern for Richmond County, at its monthly meeting Thursday.
He has been involved with the prosecutor’s office since Sept. 16, he said.
“I’ve been working to generate the DWI case files for the district attorney’s office to use in reference to prosecuting people who are driving while they are under the influence,” Sanders said.
He said he has prepared approximately 200 case files, which each include the suspect’s ticket, DWI report, driving record and DWI paperwork.
He said the files are generated on a weekly basis and used at the courthouse on Wednesdays and Thursdays.
“Of the files I’ve prepared, many of them have been voluntarily dismissed because they are under the state regulated blood alcohol content, which of course is 0.08,” Sanders continued. “If it is under that, it is most likely going to be voluntarily dismissed.”
The group is also currently preparing for some events to promote alcohol and drug-free lifestyles and foster a bond between law enforcement in the community.
Alcohol and Drug Services Representative Brenda David briefed the group on activities planned for next week, National Red Ribbon Week.
“The schools are also participating by having students wear a red ribbon, but we at (Alcohol and Drug Services) really want to go a little bit deeper into it and talk about why it got started,” she said.
“Red Ribbon Week is the nation’s oldest and largest drug prevention program in the nation reaching millions of Americans during the last week of October every year,” the Web site of the U.S. Department of Justice reads. “By wearing red ribbons and participating in community anti-drug events, young people pledge to live a drug-free life and pay tribute to DEA Special Agent Enriqué ‘Kiki’ Camarena.”
Camarena was an 11-year veteran of the federal Drug Enforcement Administration assigned to the Guadalajara, Mexico, office where he was investigating that country’s most prolific traffickers in cocaine and marijuana, it goes on to relate, when he was kidnapped and murdered by the subjects of one of his investigations in February of 1985.
The first Red Ribbon Week was held three years later with former President and First Lady Ronald and Nancy Reagan serving as honorary chairpersons.
“Through these activities, we hope to encourage students to say no to drugs, and to give them an opportunity to appreciate law enforcement,” David told the panel. “They, especially narcotics officers, are putting their lives on the line every day when they do their job.”
To help county youth observe the week, David said her agency will visit schools and distribute information.
Another event to expose youth to an alcohol and drug-free lifestyle is being planned by the group at the Leak Street Cultural Center in Rockingham on Dec, 12 at 6 p.m.
Advisory Panel Chairwoman Shirlyn Smith told the group a competition for the most elaborate way to knock down a row of dominos and a talent show will be featured at the event.
After some discussion, the group elected to entitle the program “The Domino Effect Talent Show.”
“I chose the dominos because with alcohol you create a domino effect with your health and your safety,” Smith said.
The group also distributes literature from “The Domino Strategy for Responsible Alcohol Use,” found on the Internet at www.dominostrategy.org.
The Domino Strategy offers resources that encourage people over the age of 21 to implement low-risk consumption guidelines.
n Staff Writer Philip D. Brown can be reached at (910) 997-3111 ext. 32, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.