Never Drink and Drive Scholarship Finalist Maria Seeks Career as Police Officer

Never Drink and Drive Scholarship Finalist Maria Seeks Career as Police Officer

Johnson Attorneys Group’s Never Drink and Drive Scholarship finalist, Maria P. is studying Child and Adolescent Development at California State University – Fullerton. The 22-year-old from Corona, California wants to eventually work as a police officer for the Corona Police Department

She is one of several finalists chosen by our law firm for the annual competition every spring. Our friends at Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) in California will share the name of the winner on Friday. We are sharing the stories from our finalists throughout the week.

“This week is spring break for many college-aged students and we hope to bring awareness to young people and encourage them to never drink and drive,” said Attorney James Johnson, founder of Johnson Attorneys Group.

Here is the essay submission from Maria for the Johnson Attorneys Group scholarship competition.:

Maria’s Never Drink and Drive Scholarship Essay:

In my efforts to raise awareness about drunk driving prevention in my community, I decided to use my motivation of witnessing the intense emotional pain and grim scenes caused by drunk driving incidents to be able to bring a change to my community.

Although I have not personally experienced the loss of a loved one due to drunk driving, the times these types of incidents have occurred in my career in law enforcement has shown that experts must address drunk driving in the community to prevent further tragedies.

My experience in law enforcement first started in June 2021 when I joined the Corona Police Explorer program. One memorable experience was learning about DUIs and seeing all the perspectives on how alcohol messes with a person’s senses. I was employed as a Police Cadet in July 2022; I encountered many incidents of DUI ranging from vehicle vs. pedestrian to muti-vehicle collisions to collisions against city property. One incident that I remember was an overturned vehicle with two teens injured and one dead at the scene, with a possibility of alcohol being involved due to the severity of the scene. This incident made me think of the young adults today being peer pressured by friends and the media to engage in risky behavior, thinking that because they are young, they are invincible but cannot see that their lives could be taken away with just one wrong decision.

How to Raise Awareness and Preventing Drunk Driving

One day, I decided to help two traffic officers with a Drive for Life class for teens who had received a traffic citation. The class aimed to teach teens the four most common factors leading to fatal traffic collisions, including DUI. The class included pictures, videos, and tests to illustrate the consequences of these bad decisions. At the end of the class, the officer showed a tribute to a father who lost his son to a drunk driver, which left me and the other teens heartbroken, but we all received the message.

To raise awareness about drunk driving prevention in my community, I want to expand the Drive for Life classes for both teens and adults, including adding more guest speakers and workshops to provide a clear example of the risks associated with drunk driving to not only the driver but those who may come across the driver.

Recently, the Corona Police Department received a grant from the Alcoholic Beverage Control Office, which aims to combat alcohol-related crimes, including reducing alcohol availability to minors. I plan to contribute to this initiative by participating in educational events, attending checkpoints, and observing procedures for detecting driving under the influence, which experts can share with the community.

Johnson Attorneys Group is a personal injury law firm  with offices throughout California. Our firm is proud to be a longtime supporter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). Our annual spring essay competition is open to California students or students attending a California college. Read the full details on our website.

James Johnson

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