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January 03, 2006

Updated and Improved "Youth Leadership Safety Patrol" Expands to Cover Disaster Preparedness, Internet Safety, Other Lessons

(Toms River) - Colonel Rick Fuentes, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, today joined Norman Grimm, Executive Director, Mid-Atlantic Foundation for Safety and Education of AAA and other dignitaries to kick off the newly expanded “Youth Leadership Safety Patrol,” a safety education program for fifth and sixth-graders across New Jersey.

The Safety Patrol, the oldest educational program taught by the New Jersey State Police, was first offered in 1929, with messages related to traffic safety and other issues. In September 2004, after listening to students of East Dover Elementary School in Toms River, State Police Lieutenant John Muccino proposed expanding the program to include lessons in disaster preparedness, Internet safety, conflict resolution and other topics that concern today's youth.

With funding from New Jersey Citizen Corps and sponsorship from AAA, the new Youth Leadership Safety Patrol Program will be taught at schools using the new curriculum beginning with the 2006-2007 school year.

"Today's fifth and sixth-graders face an increasingly complex world with a whole new set of safety issues related to the Internet, terrorism, and the spread of street gangs," said Attorney General Peter C. Harvey. "From its inception, this State Police program has been about making children safer by making them more aware of their world. Because their world is rapidly changing, we are offering new lessons to help our youth stay safe." Fuentes said, "Since 1929 the Safety Patrol has given young people the skills to confidently navigate the pressures and dangers around them. We have always known that as times change, the Safety Patrol's basic message will stay the same, but the lessons will need to be periodically updated. Today's fifth and sixth-graders have made it clear that they are ready to learn about these new topics. We are proud to do our part in educating and protecting our most valuable resource, our young people."

"AAA is pleased to support the program initiatives of the New Jersey State Police by providing Safety Patrol materials and equipment worn by all School Safety Patrols", said Grimm. "The School Safety Patrols of America and in particular, New Jersey are today's volunteers and tomorrow's leaders."

Fuentes and Grimm joined students from 12 area schools at East Dover Elementary School to announce the launching of the new Youth Leadership Safety Patrol Program. Instructors from the New Jersey State Police and other local law enforcement agencies will begin teaching the new curriculum at the beginning of the 2006-2007 school year.

During the event, students were presented with limited edition New York Giants collectible player cards, specially printed through a collaborative partnership between the State Police, the Giants and New Jersey Citizen Corps. Each card includes a disaster preparedness or safety message.

The new lesson plan will be distributed to schools by the State Police and AAA. Each school's Youth Leadership Safety Patrol director will have the flexibility to adapt the lesson plan to reflect the needs of young people in their community.

The following lessons comprise the new Youth Leadership Safety Patrol Program:

  • "How to Be a Role Model: Respect and Responsibility"
  • "Bullying and Conflict Resolution"
  • "Protecting the Environment
  • "Community Emergency Response"
  • "Drug Demand Reduction"
  • "Internet Safety"
  • "Automobile Safety"
  • "Bicycle Safety"
  • "Pedestrian Safety"
  • "Gang Awareness"

Teachers or local law enforcement officers interested in learning about the Youth Leadership Safety Patrol Program may call (Tpr I. Steve Shallop at 609-452-2601 Ext. 5910).

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