National Police Week Begins May 15

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Police officer on the streets talking to a boy on his bike and a little girl.

During the week of May 15, thousands of law enforcement officers will gather in Washington DC to participate in a series of planned events that honor the men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice. According to policeweek.org, President John F. Kennedy proclaimed May 15 as Peace Officers Memorial Day and the following week to be known as Police Week. The event has grown every year since then, and today 25,000 to 40,000 attendees, mostly family, survivors and law enforcement officers, make the annual trip to our nation’s Capital.

If you would like to support your local police officers but can’t make it to DC to attend the memorial events, you can easily show your appreciation by personally thanking a hometown police officer for their service and dedication to protecting the community. In addition, here are some other great ways to show your gratitude:

  • If you see a police officer, ask to take a photo with him or her and share it on social media with #NationalPoliceWeek and #BackSABlue.
  • Take some nice snacks like a dozen of donuts or cookies to your local police substation.
  • Write a letter to the editor or an online post about why you appreciate law enforcement.
  • If you see a police officer out at lunch or dinner, offer to pay for their meal.
  • Order BackSABlue gear from HERE and show it off during the week.
  • Donate to our outreach program, Blue Cares, HERE. Donations help fund their scholarships and food assistance programs, Blue Cares Scholarship and Project CJ.
  • And most importantly, take a moment to reflect on the law enforcement officers we have lost in the line of duty.

 

While the duties of a police officer usually go unnoticed, your appreciation for local law enforcement will not.

Have a #SafeFiesta

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two women riding horses during a San Antonio Fiesta parade

According to the San Antonio Police Department, the Fiesta celebration for 2016 saw a hike in DWI arrests over 2015. SAPD officers made a total of 233 arrests for driving while intoxicated during the span of Fiesta’s 10 day affair. That was 11 more arrests than in 2015, which isn’t a dramatic hike in arrests but still discouraging. On a more positive note, 2016 marked the fourth consecutive year without fatalities tied to Fiesta.
We can keep San Antonio’s DWI numbers down with a simple promise to not drink and drive. To help, we’ve offered some alternatives to keep you from getting behind the wheel of a car.
1. Assign a designated driver of the group.
2. Call a relative or friend to pick you up.
3. Purchase a pass for public transportation.
4. Call a cab.
5. Utilize a rideshare service.
Also remember not to walk home or ride a bike if you’ve had too much to drink – public intoxication is still a crime. And yes, buzzed driving is still drunk driving.
The San Antonio Police Officers’ Association loves our city and Fiesta just as much as everyone else does. We’re going to celebrate responsibly and safely with our friends and families, and we hope you all do too. As we do so, let’s all do our part to reverse the trend and hopefully, 2017 will see a big reduction in Fiesta-related DWI’s.
We ask that you pledge to be safe during Fiesta and not drive by using #SafeFiesta in all your Fiesta-related photos and posts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. By using this hashtag, you’re promising that you will not get behind the wheel of a car even if you are buzzed. Be a responsible drinker and together we can bring down the DWI statistics in San Antonio.

Spring Break Safe Drinking Tips

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people toasting with their drinks

Every year, we hear horror stories spawning from the events of careless spring break shenanigans. According to a 2014 study conducted by the American College of Health, the average male reported drinking 18 drinks per day and the average female reported up to 10 drinks per day during spring break. That is well above the safe levels of alcohol consumption.

In order to limit the amount of fatalities and assaults that occur during spring break, we advise you to consider the dangers of drinking irresponsibly and risky behavior under intoxication. If you consider yourself over the age to handle that sort of lifestyle, we advise you to talk with your legal-age college students about the dangers of spring break drinking. Follow these tips about alcohol abuse in order to have the safest spring break possible.

Safe drinking tips:

  • Know your limit and don’t chug. Sip on your drink, instead.
  • Eating food before will keep you full and cause you to drink less.
  • Drink a bottle of water with your drink or in between drinks.
  • Don’t accept drinks from strangers.
  • Don’t drink and drive! Appoint a designated driver or use a ride service.
  • Do not force your peers to drink. And, don’t fall into peer pressure.
  • Keep track of how many drinks you are consuming.
  • Avoid drinking games. This will just get you drunk faster.
  • Do not combine drugs and alcohol. Most drugs and alcohol do not mix well.
  • If you are pregnant or might be pregnant, do not consume any type of alcoholic beverage.

 

These rules do not only apply to college students, but adults as well. Be a responsible grownup and lead by example. Don’t fall victim to the party lifestyle that is spring break.

 

Have a fun and safe spring break from all of us at the San Antonio Police Officers’ Association.

How to Prevent a Road Rage Incident

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Man driving at night intoxicated

A few months ago in Arkansas, a three year old lost his life as he was sitting in the backseat of his grandmother’s car. While on a shopping trip, the grandmother told police the incident began when a man in a car behind her at a stop sign started honking his horn, apparently upset she wasn’t moving quickly enough. He then got out of his car and fired shots into her vehicle, striking the toddler. The boy was transported to Arkansas Children’s Hospital where he later died.

Driving during rush hour traffic can be a frustrating experience, and for some people, aggression starts to build up. Maybe, someone doesn’t use their blinker as they turn into your lane or a driver might put your life in danger as they’re visibly accessing their phone behind the wheel. All these examples can lead to a road rage incident that can be easily preventable.

Here are some tips to help prevent you from becoming a victim of road rage:

  • A wave is a simple gesture on the road to imply a “Thank you” or “I’m sorry”. Use it if you feel you might have created tension between yourself and another driver.
  • Move over if someone is tailgating you. And, do not tailgate yourself.
  • Leave home early to allow time for delays during your drive.
  • Use your horn sparingly.
  • Defuse the tension with an angry driver by avoiding eye contact.

According to the NHTSA and the Auto Vantage, 66 percent of traffic fatalities are caused by aggressive driving and 37 percent of road rage cases involve a firearm. To prevent others from lashing out on you on the road, make sure you aren’t utilizing your phone while driving, that your high beams aren’t on, that you aren’t switching lanes or making turns without signaling, or failing to check your blind spots before switching lanes.

Be a considerate driver at all times and follow road rules. Do not give in to anger or rage while out on the road. To counter this, take a few slow, deep breaths to decrease any thoughts of retaliation. The last thing you want to do is escalate the situation. Your goal is to get home safely at the end of the day!

What To Do If You’re Pulled Over

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Police SUV driving in San Antonio

When a traffic stop occurs, rest assured that you’re getting pulled over because the police officer noticed something that puts you or other drivers and pedestrians at risk. Getting pulled over by the police is never an enjoyable experience, but it’s not a pleasant task for the police officer either. Every vehicle they pull over they risk endangering themselves by the oncoming traffic in the surrounding area or by the civilians they meet in the vehicle. There are a few things you can learn from traffic stops and the first is to assess the situation from the officer’s point of view.

Traffic stops are dangerous for police officers because the motorist may pose a threat to the officer in multiple ways. The driver could be having a bad day already and a traffic stop is the last thing they want. Police officers endure disrespectful and ill-mannered attitudes on a daily basis and sometimes unpredictable behavior in the form of sudden and violent attacks can occur from the motorist. Another threat police officers face is traffic. Police officers can, and sometimes, are hit and killed while giving a traffic citation. You can make a police officer’s day safer by pulling over in a safe area and not doing anything that will make the officer think you’re a risk.

Here’s what to do when you’re getting pulled over: First, after you notice the flashing lights behind you, acknowledge the officer by turning on your flashers. Do it, especially if you think you’ll need to drive a distance before finding a safe place to pull over. And remember, to pull over to the right side of the road. Make sure the shoulder is wide enough for your vehicle and the officer’s vehicle, and offers enough space for him or her to approach and speak to you. Turn off your engine, roll down the window, and turn on your dome lights. Stay calm and stay inside the vehicle. If not, you may give the officer an impression that you are going to be aggressive.

Keep your hands on the steering wheel so that the officer knows where they are. When the officer approaches, wait for them to ask for your documents and obtain them unhurriedly. If rushed, it may look like you’re reaching for a weapon. If you’re carrying a weapon, let the officer know as soon as possible. If you don’t think you’re guilty of any violations, you may fight it in court. Don’t argue with the officer over who is right or wrong. If you’ve been issued a citation, sign it and give it back to the police officer. Once he has allowed you to leave, cautiously merge back into traffic.

Don’t turn a simple traffic stop into a nightmare for both parties. Think ahead and prevent a traffic stop in the first place by driving safely and practicing good driver habits. Remember, a police officer will not pull you over for no reason, so stay safe out on the road and be courteous to police officers.