In two and a half years as an Eastern District police officer, Sam Brown had written too many reports on too many accidents. had to do something. He organized Pasadena Safety Day to teach residents about safety on the road and in their homes.
The second annual safety day, scheduled for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. tomorrow at Northeast High School, will include "jaws of life" and first aid demonstrations, sky divers, helicopters, a custom car show and the county police bicycle patrol.
"I figure the more exhibits and events, the more people will show up," said Officer Brown, who is expecting a crowd of about 1,000 tomorrow.
Last year's festivities weren't nearly as elaborate. About 300 people attended the celebration, which began in response to a traffic accident last spring in which a juvenile, unlicensed driver hit and severely injured a George Fox middle school student.
The accident was the last straw for Officer Brown, who said he "saw a need for some kind of awareness for the residents of Pasadena."
"You handle so many accidents and you're saying there's got to be something done," he said.
His first idea was to put up signs at busy intersections and local schools to keep drivers alert.
But that idea grew into the first Safety Day held last June, with hot dogs, sodas, safety exhibits and a baseball pitching game.
"This year is going to be great because I'm working with some other agencies and we're combining efforts to really try to make a difference in the community we serve," said Officer Brown, who this week was honored as Officer of the Year by the Severna Park Optimists Club because of his efforts in coordinating Safety Day and organizing dances for local youths.
As part of the event, members of the Rivera Beach Volunteer Fire Department will dress in full firefighting gear to demonstrate how they pull crash victims from wrecked cars.
Using a giant scissor-like machine dubbed the "jaws of life," they will cut the roof and doors off a wrecked car and rescue the "victim," who will be painted with fake blood.
Two police helicopters, one from the state police and the other from Anne Arundel County, will touch down at the event and will be on display for visitors.
Two sky divers dressed as the crash test dummy television characters Vince and Larry will parachute onto the school grounds.
In addition to the Safety Day, Officer Brown has expanded his traffic safety education by enlisting the help of some Northeast High School freshmen to teach local kindergarten students about safety.
One student dresses as Vince the crash dummy while the others perform short skits to teach the children about crossing the street, keeping away from strangers, and household safety.
Officer Brown said he hopes this approach has had an impact on the next generation of drivers.
"Maybe when [the high school students] start driving, they'll think, 'Hey, maybe I should wear my seat belt,' " he said. "Maybe it will save their lives."
There is another benefit to keeping residents safe, especially on the road, Officer Brown added jokingly: "I'll have to do less accident reports."