FHP's Salvando Vidas Coordinators (Seated) L to R: Tpr. Kelvin Vega,
Tpr. Noel Rios, Tpr. Dawn Tomlinson, Tpr. Carlos Velasquez,
(Standing) L to R: Tpr. Roy Blanco, and Major Grady Carrick.
Last week, Troop G kicked off a new Hispanic outreach program called Salvando Vidas, which is Spanish for "Saving Lives." The new program is designed to promote traffic safety among Northeast Florida's growing Hispanic population. By partnering with civic, religious, government, and non-profit organizations, the FHP seeks to serve this unique community and promote general traffic safety, vehicle safety, seatbelt use, child restraint use, and DUI awareness among this target population.
Some of the key goals of Salvando Vidas are:
- To foster trust between law enforcement and the Hispanic community;
- To promote a safer driving environment through targeted education;
- To encourage compliance with state traffic laws;
- To provide low income families with child safety seats;
- To educate drivers about the dangers of drinking and driving.
A great deal of excitement surrounds this new program, and in the coming months FHP will use a combination of individual officer contacts and group events to promote traffic safety among north Florida's Hispanic people. Spanish-speaking troopers assigned to the nine counties in Troop G will be actively reaching out to the Hispanic community, offering traffic safety materials, brochures, posters, and videos -- all in Spanish -- to get the message out.
The Salvando Vidas outreach program will allow these FHP Troopers, who are either of Hispanic ancestry or are bilingual and/or bicultural, to be designated as Salvando Vidas Coordinators. These coordinators will work within the Hispanic community to organize community safety events, provide traffic safety education presentations, and serve as role models in the community. In addition, FHP has established a telephone voice mailbox for callers in the Jacksonville area, which offers a message in Spanish with information about the new program. Also, FHP has set up an email address for use by members of the Hispanic community to access information about the program.