"Every 15 Minutes" is a two day program involving high school juniors and seniors that encourages them to think about personal safety when alcohol is involved, making mature decisions and recognizing that their actions affect others.
The program's name was derived from the fact that in the early 1990's, every fifteen minutes, someone in the United States died in an alcohol-related traffic collision.
LVMPD partners with the Clark County and Las Vegas Fire Departments, University Medical Center, Clark County Coroner's Office, Mercy Air, Ambulance services, Palm Mortuary and a host of sponsors to create an invaluable message for the youth of Clark County.
The result of the 4-5 month planning is the two-day program "Every 15 Minutes".
Today begins with a student being removed from their class room every fifteen minutes to simulate another death from an alcohol related incident has occurred. Once the student is removed their obituary is read to their class mates and posted on school property for all to see. Simultaneously, the parent of these students are receiving, a pre-planned, death notification from the LVMPD chaplain.
The juniors and seniors will then witness a staged DUI crash scene. The crash scene starts with a chilling 911 call that triggers an emergency response from LVMPD, paramedics, fire fighters and the coroner. Once the emergency vehicles arrive they will work as if the crash is actual.
Four of their class mates will be in the crash. One student is the Drunk Driver and will participate in the Field Sobriety Tests where it is determined they are over the legal limit and are placed under arrest. Medical Personnel will determine that one student is deceased and the coroner is contacted. One student has minor injuries and is transported to UMC by ambulance. One student is determined to have life threatening injuries and will be transported to UMC via Mercy Air.
Once the emergency vehicles have cleared the scene the juniors and seniors will return to their classrooms. However for the students involved in the crash scene it isn't over. The deceased student is transported to the Clark County Coroner's Office and their parent is notified of their death. The drunk driver is transported to the Clark County Detention Center where they are booked. They will then proceed to the Regional Justice Center to be sentenced for their actions in the DUI collision. The two students that are transported to UMC will be treated for their injuries. University Medical Center personnel will do their best to preserve the life of the student with life threatening injuries. The outcome of the students will be determined at the next Every 15 Minutes program.
At the end of a very emotional day law enforcement personnel with the assistance of community member chaperones take the students to one of our local hotels for the overnight Student Retreat. The students have been out of communication with their parents and friends since the day started. This will continue until the conclusion of day two. This gives the program more of a reality when they cannot call their loved ones after such an emotional day.
At the Student Retreat the students will participate in team building activities. They will also hear from impact speakers who tell them first hand how their lives have changed from losing a loved one to a drunk driver. The devastating effects of each person that is killed by a drunk driver and the life long sentence the friends and family have without their loved one. The evening ends with some very emotional exercises including the good bye letter. Each student writes a good bye letter to a loved one.
The parents of the participating students will also attend a Parent Retreat. This debriefing allows the parents to come together and share their experiences of receiving death notifications with each other. Additionally the parents of the DUI crash students can share their emotions of seeing their child in a serious car crash. The parents will also participate in writing a good bye letter to their child, remembering they have not spoken to their child since they left for school and have since received a death notification.
Today the students are taken back to their high school and prepped for the school assembly. All of the juniors, seniors, parents, school staff, sponsors, volunteers, officers, emergency personnel and invited guests come together for the assembly. The assembly starts with a video of the previous days crash scene. The students will also get to watch the off site locations such as University Medical Center, the morgue, Clark County Detention Center and the Regional Justice Center. Impact speakers will also speak to the students about their experiences and lives that have been impacted by a drunk driver(s).
After the assembly the participating students, their parents, school staff, officers, volunteers and sponsors are invited to a luncheon, hosted by a local restaurant. During this time the parents get to see their child for the first time in two emotional days. The students and parents will have the opportunity to see the community members in a different light and see first hand the large number of people that are involved in the coordination of the program.
At the conclusion of the two-day program the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department hopes that we can prevent drinking and driving incidents as the students witness the dangers of alcohol first hand in the Every 15 Minutes Program. Additionally, we hope to show the students the dangers of what one mistake can lead to and the many lives that are affected by making wrong choices.