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ACC warns students about drunk driving during spring break

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    Officer Jason Hetrick from Elgin PD gives ACC senior Kaylah Rian Palfy a sobriety test as she wears Fatal Vision goggles.
  • Article Image Alt Text
    Austin Police Department liaison Dena Vines loves on the ACC mascot, the River Bat, which she said represents her loving and caring for the ACC students. Photos by Mary Lou Gil

Spring break started off with a bang for the Austin Community College Elgin students, thanks to Dena Vines, head liaison Austin Police Department at ACC Elgin, who showed them how to have a safe and responsible vacation away from school.

The students were able to experience a time of fun and laughter with their friends, but at the same time were made aware of the dangers of drinking and driving and the concerns of involving drugs into their lives. Vines said she wanted to make sure the ACC students here had a better understanding of what drinking and drugs can do.

The main goal here at the event for Vines and the other participating organizations was to provide all the necessary resources and information for staying safe during spring break. They understood each student wants to enjoy life and have fun; that’s why it was important for Vines to create this event and involve other organizations to help her spread awareness.

Vines has worked in the ACC community for seven years. She has worked for the liaison department and has been a mentor for the students of ACC. It is important to her to build trust with the students, because they need someone who will be willing to listen to them, she said. She believes that, with a listening ear, the ACC Police Department can make a big difference in one student’s life.

Vines was grateful for all the organizations who made this event a blast, such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). Program manager Jessica Uvalle was there to answer questions for the students and inform them about the dangers of drinking and driving.

ACC had LGBT eQuity Committee, which was created as a support system for ACC students and staff. Sergio Ramirez, a specialist for LGBT committee, was there to give his support for the students of ACC. The Union Pacific Railroad was there as well; locomotive engineer Brian Morton and Rex Martin, TCS facilitator, were there to show their support. They wanted to make students aware of the dangers of crossing the tracks while a train is coming. “It’s no playing matter!” were the words of Martin.

The men in blue also came to support the event. The Austin Police Department, with the Community Liaison Department, was Sharon Cannon and retired officer Eric Oakman. Elgin Police Department was there with officers Jason Hetrick and Jeremy Schelsteder. They also had a demonstration with Fatal Vision goggles which a student could put over their eyes. These googles would simulate an estimated blood alcohol concentration of .17 to .20 as a drunk person. Then, one would have to try to walk in a straight line.

Vines wants to give a special thanks to all the organizations that made the event possible. They hope the students will remember one thing about this event: don’t drink and drive, and be safe!