DUI simulator a draw at Mount Carmel Police Day
MOUNT CARMEL - Louise Cuff doesn't drink, but she wanted to try the DUI simulator at Saturday's inaugural Police Day at town park.
Inside a trailer, the Mount Carmel woman entered a computerized vehicle with operator Mike Martin electronically controlling the surroundings. After Cuff got a feel for the controls, Martin put a couple of drinks into her system electronically, which slowed down the reaction time.
Cuff continued to drive, but every movement of the wheel was magnified.
"Oh God, help me," she shrieked as her vehicle swerved.
"God can't help you, you're in my hands now," Martin joked, eliciting laughter from Cuff's family.
After her drive, Cuff said the experience was informative.
"If that's how I drive when I just have two drinks, I'm glad I don't drink," she said.
The simulator, owned by the Pennsylvania DUI Association and presented by the Darla Fausey Agency, of Coal Township, and State Farm Insurance, was among the more popular attractions at Saturday's event.
But more than just having fun, the intent of Police Day was to have residents and police familiarize themselves with each other.
"Today gave everyone a chance to put a face with the name," said Mount Carmel Police Chief Todd Owens. "It is a good day; everyone is enjoying themselves."
Yet another important aspect of the event, attended by several hundred residents over five hours, was a memorial service that recognized the only borough police officer ever killed in the line of duty.
This dog can smell
Another popular demonstration involved Judge, a 4-year-old Golden Retriever and the K-9 arson dog for the Allentown Fire Department. Judge can detect about 61 different accelerants, whether at a fire scene or on people, said Lee T. Laubach, assistant chief of fire prevention for the department.
"Our investigation shows many arsonists will stay and watch their work, so Judge and I will go around the scene and he will find the person," he said.
To prove his point, he put out four cans, one with the smell of paint thinner inside and the others with charred materials. No matter how many times the containers were switched around, Judge found the right one each time.
Since Judge joined the department, Laubach said arson fires are down 47 percent in Lehigh County. He even offered to assist with such investigations in Northumberland County.
The day's most poignant moments came during a memorial service for special officer Peter Kozlowski, who lost his life while trying to disarm a suspect in a 1921 shooting.
A contingent of officers from various local departments stood at attention and saluted a memorial plaque for Kozlowski as a state police ceremonial bugler played "Taps" and a bagpiper played "Amazing Grace."
The ceremony, which featured prayers from the Rev. Joan Brown and remarks from Mayor J. Kevin Jones, Magisterial District Judge Hugh Jones and Kozlowski's grandson, Frank, was also a dedication ceremony for the memorial plaque honoring Kozlowski, which will now be at town park.
"We are going to get a marble tablet and put the plaque here, near the gazebo and the monument dedicating town park," Owens said. "After years of being a vagabond, he's finally home."
Owens gave credit to Melissa Katch and Michelle Teevan and their friends for pulling Police Day together "in a matter of weeks."