17 Steamboat Springs community partners collaborate on Teen Safety Week
Steamboat Springs Police Department and partners will hold a teen outreach program from May 8-12 that will be led by the police department’s civilian investigator, a new position occupied by Patty Oakland.
Civilian investigator is not a sworn-in position but is a detective position focused on the intervention and prevention of crimes.
The “In the Same Boat” program features 17 community partners and will promote and cultivate community support and encourage teen safety across the Yampa Valley.
Each day will have themed social media pushes and information in the Steamboat Pilot & Today. Monday’s theme is combating impaired driving, Tuesday’s is stopping texting while driving, Wednesday’s is substance abuse prevention, Thursday’s is promoting mental health and Friday’s is ending dating violence.
The week also includes a Teen Safety Fair from 4-6 p.m. Thursday, May 11, at the Steamboat Community Center.
The idea was promoted by Oakland, who will band together with School Resource Officer Lisa Eifling to execute the week’s agenda, alongside partners that include Steamboat Springs Fire, the Routt County Sheriff’s Office, Advocates of Routt County and more.
A forensic nurse turned investigator who will soon have completed master’s programs in criminal justice and nursing, Oakland has expertise that makes her the perfect person to launch the program.
As a former emergency room nurse, Oakland said she has seen her fair share of teen fatalities, and she hopes this program can play a role in preventing these instances from happening in Steamboat.
“Across the country, we see a lot more accidents and problems that happen with our teens,” Oakland said. “The police department is serving as the backbone of this because we feel like a lot of pressure falls on our schools to create these types of initiatives, on top of having to teach.”
Oakland said the “No Empty Chair” campaign out of New York served as a driving force behind this program. “No Empty Chair” is a teen driving safety campaign that looks to have “no empty chairs” at events like graduations due to driving fatalities.
The program precedes the Steamboat Springs High School Prom in hopes of equipping students with information on how to stay safe on Prom night, but Oakland emphasizes this effort is intended for all teenagers.
She noted that statistically, the risk increases for teens in this last month of the school year and throughout the summer.
Kit Geary is the county, public safety and education reporter. To reach her, call 970-871-4229 or email her at kgeary@SteamboatPilot.com.
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