Recently, Troop E participated in National Child Passenger Safety Week 2007 by combining resources with Monroe County authorities to hold a series of events promoting child passenger safety. FHP worked with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, Key Largo Fire Rescue and the Monroe County Healthy Start Coalition to sponsor events in Key West, Marathon, Islamorada and Key Largo.
FHP Occupant Protection Specialist Trooper Mary Jackson and fellow troopers Jackson Morisseau and Tammy Broughton, both Certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians from Troop E, conducted a series of child seat checkpoints from Key West to Key Largo. Checkpoints at three Keys area Publix Stores and Coral Shores High School enabled the team to ensure the proper transport of 91 Keys children. Together, the team checked 60 child seats for proper installation; 46 child seats were found to be damaged, defective, or expired. The team also distributed 46 child safety seats to the public.
In addition, FHP set up a series of special enforcement details with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office to enforce the primary seat belt law for drivers under 18 years old. Troopers and deputies also targeted adults driving with children who were unrestrained.
FHP Public Affairs Officer Lt. Pat Santangelo and Monroe County Public Information Officer Becky Herns alerted the news media in the Keys to heavily publicize the locations of the checkpoints with continuous radio Public Service Announcements and newspaper articles. In addition, Lt. Santangelo and Ms. Herns distributed joint press releases and conducted guest appearances throughout the week on live radio, educating residents about the new primary seat belt law for teens and the importance of making sure children ride restrained in child safety seats.