The Kentucky League of Cities (KLC) has named the City of Paducah as the recipient of the 2014 Enterprise Cities Award in the public safety category. The Paducah Police Department submitted an award application for its Don’t Be In-text-icated program.
The award letter from KLC reads, “Your city and the other award winners are the best and brightest examples of entrepreneurship and excellence in local government.” Paducah will accept the award at the KLC Awards Brunch on October 10 in Louisville.
Paducah Police Chief Brandon Barnhill says, “The Don’t Be In-text-icated education program has been extremely successful. The Paducah Police Department attributes a large portion of the reduction in collisions to the awareness that distracted driving can have tragic consequences.”
The Police Department developed the Don’t Be In-text-icated program in 2012 and debuted it to 900 students at Paducah Tilghman High School. The program’s goal is to bring awareness to the dangers of distracted driving, specifically texting while driving which is illegal in Kentucky. Since the program’s development, it has been presented to more than 4000 people with requests from across the state and around the nation.
The reason the program is so powerful and special is due to the Department’s partnership with Hillary Coltharp and her family. In 2007, Hillary was driving to meet her family for dinner. While driving on Interstate-24, she began responding to text messages. She ended up losing control of her car, rolling three times, and ejecting 75 feet. She was given less than a 0.5% chance of living. Today, she faces daily challenges and spends much of her time in speech, physical, and occupational therapy. However, Hillary, her family, her close friend Paducah Police Officer Gretchen Morgan, and the rest of the Paducah Police Department are passionate about making everyone aware of the dangers of distracted driving.
Chief Barnhill adds, “The mission of the partnership that we established is to save lives by educating the public of the potential dangers of their behaviors. Both the Coltharps and the Paducah Police Department feel it is our obligation in continuing to educate our community of the dangerous hazards of distracted driving.”
As a recipient of the Enterprise Cities award, the City of Paducah will receive $1000 to be used to support the Paducah Police Department’s efforts regarding the dangers of texting and driving. Paducah also will receive a complimentary registration to the KLC conference.