Vevay Police Department unveils new DUI educational program

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Though support from the Vevay Town Council and grants from the United Fund of Switzerland County and the Community Foundation of Switzerland County, Vevay Town Marshal Brian Morton is hoping to save a life.

Even if his new program saves just one person, he figures that it’s been more than worth it.

The Vevay Police Department has announced that it is beginning a new education program designed to help people — especially teenagers — better understand the dangers of drinking and driving.

“It’s very much a hands-on program,” Brian Morton said. “The person who is participating wears a set of goggles designed to simulate them being intoxicated, and then they attempt to drive a golf cart through an obstacle course of orange cones. There is an officer on the cart with the person at all times, so it’s very safe.”

Brian Morton said that the program will mainly be used with driver’s education students, but is available to any group or any age who would like to participate. The program will be run by the town officers, with all of the officers being trained to instruct others in the program.

All of the supplies for the program are carried in a special trailer that is pulled by one of the police vehicles.

“It’s definitely more than just a lecture,” Brian Morton said. “We’re planning on starting the program in the spring.”

Brian Morton said that Indiana State Police trooper and Switzerland County native Mike Caplinger told him about a similar program that Mike Caplinger had been involved with about three years ago and how successful it was. That idea stayed with Brian Morton until he assumed the Town Marshal’s position, and that’s when he began to work on making it a reality here.

First he got the blessing of the Vevay Town Council to pursue grants to help pay for the program, with an estimated cost of $12,600 — which includes all of the materials and supplies and equipment needed.

With the council’s approval, Brian Morton then secured grants from the United Fund of Switzerland County and the Community Foundation of Switzerland County; and also used some funds from his town police budget.

The program is available to everyone, not just those living in town, and Brian Morton said that anyone who wants to see this program in action should contact him at 427-3737 to set up a demonstration.

“I think it’s going to be a good thing,” Brian Morton said. “If this prevents one kid from going out and drinking and driving and getting hurt or killed, then it’s worth every penny.”