Hwy. Patrolman tells Boys Staters about life and death

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> STARKVILLE, Miss.–At the conclusion of a week of leadership activities, more than 370 rising high school seniors heard from a Mississippi Highway Patrolman about how their driving decisions can change life in an instant.
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> The Boys State delegates heard from Lt. John Poulos, director of public affairs with the Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol, who discussed his real-life experiences and observations from a multitude of crash scenes during his 17-year-career as a patrolman.
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> He said that in his role, an officer has to become desensitized to a degree, and many a graphic scene has not affected his ability to perform his job. But he said giving a death notification to a family sometimes makes him queasy.
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> “This is the positive side of my job, being able to come and speak to leaders,” he said. “There is a whole lot of negative in what I do.”
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> Poulos told the boys that Mississippi lost 78 high school teenagers last year in traffic accidents. The No. 1 killer, he emphasized, is the lack of seat belt use. He said there are some things in life beyond an individual’s control, but all drivers can choose to wear their seatbelt, and equally important is insisting that every passenger in the car also be buckled in.
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> Mississippi is consistently ranked among the top in the nation for teenage driving fatalities.
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> He also urged the boys to intervene to stop someone from drinking and driving.
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> “We all know this kills,” he said, asking his audience if it would really be too uncomfortable to talk to someone and help them find a safe ride home. He emphasized that making a death notification or wondering if someone’s life could have been saved after it’s too late is the most uncomfortable feeling.
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> Poulos said distracted driving is a huge issue. “It’s not just texting, but anything that takes your attention from the roadway,” he said.
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> The Mississippi American Legion Boys State program concluded their week at Mississippi State University by announcing more than $35,000 in scholarship awards.
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> MSU is serving as host campus to Boys State which is considered to be the nation’s premier program for teaching how government works while developing young men’s leadership skills and honing their appreciation for the rights and responsibilities of citizenship.
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> For more information about Boys State, visit www.msboysstate.com.
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> MSU is Mississippi’s flagship research university, available online at www.msstate.edu, facebook.com/msstate, instagram.com/msstate and twitter.com/msstate.
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