JPD Chief delivers sobering message for prom, graduation

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It’s a special time of year for many high school students.

It is prom, graduation and party season, a time of year when warnings are issued from principals, police, parents and friends in form of “Don’t drink and drive!”

Tomorrow night, the first of four events will feature dozens of Johnston High School students who’ll attend the Junior Prom at Valley Country Club in Warwick.

Quidnesset Country Club in North Kingstown will host the JHS Senior Prom on Friday evening, June 1 and the Class of 2018 will celebrate its graduation on back-to-back nights on June 7 and 8, with the Senior Banquet at Cranston Country Club and annual commencement ceremony at the Providence Performing Arts Center.

During that time, spirits will be running high, which is why Johnston Police Chief Richard S. Tamburini summoned members of SADD – Students against Dangerous Decisions – and JHS Student Council last Friday morning outside the school to view a wreck that was towed to Cherry Hill courtesy of Willy’s Precision Towing.

“Your upcoming events are not only celebrations of your accomplishments but also create lasting memories with classmates before the next chapter of your lives begin,” Tamburini told students who stood near and behind the demolished vehicle. “We want you kids to have a great time and celebrate and have fun, but we want you to do it safely.”

The chief called the students attention to a digital sign the JPD set up aside the wreck that read, “Booze it and lose it!”

Tamburini, who is steeped with 54 years of law enforcement experience and has seen a myriad of fatal car crashes during his tenure, told the attentive JHS students: “It does not end with you being involved in a crash. After the crash you will get arrested and lose your license and that’s just a start.”

The chief, who prepared a special bulletin for parents and guardians that was distributed throughout JHS, then emphasized: “You will have a police record and diminish your chance at equitable employment; worse, you may be severely injured or die. This will have a tremendous effect on your family and fiends as they mourn your loss. Make your prom memorable, not a memorial – deal?”

To which the entire group of students shouted in unison: “Deal!”

Tamburini then added “we are reaching out to your parents and guardians to assist in this effort – help the Johnston Police Department make sure that every student is as safe as possible. The importance of making good decisions is instrumental in keeping the students safe. Too often these celebrations turn into tragedy.”

The JPD Chief, who was accompanied by Deputy Chief Joseph Razza, then reiterated the message police personnel across the state have been emphasized through television advertisements that decry under age drinking and texting while driving.

“Remember, who could be the passenger in a car whose driver has been drinking,” the chief said. “Your futures are bright; one wrong decision affects your family and the community and Johnston High School. We want all students to enjoy a safe, drug and alcohol-free prom and graduation season.”

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