On Friday, December 15th and Saturday, December 16th, Paula Schaefer attended two Highway Patrol public safety checkpoints making an important emotional connection for the officers and the motorists going through the checkpoints. Paula is our Victim Impact Panel Coordinator for the Charleston area.
Prior to attending, Paula joined the 9th Circuit Law Enforcement Network at their Sober Or Slammer press conference in Summerville. While there, Paula spoke with the commanding officer about participating in their upcoming check points. While speaking with the commanding officer, she inquired how MADD could make upcoming checkpoints in memory of specific drunk driving victims—what are often called “dedicated checkpoints.”
On December 15th, Paula dedicated the check point to Alivia Watson, who was killed in Dorchester County earlier in 2017. Paula has been working with Alivia’s mom offering peer support and received permission to dedicate that checkpoint to her. Alivia’s step-father, David Tatar, stopped by to show support for the troopers and to remember Alivia.
On December 16th, Paula dedicated the checkpoint to her daughter, Sarah Schaefer. Sarah was killed by an impaired driver 18 years ago. In fact, December 16th was the 18th anniversary of Sarah’s death. Dedicating that checkpoint to Sarah was very cathartic for Paula. It assisted in the message coming full circle.
Prior to both checkpoints, Paula spoke about both Alivia and her daughter Sarah. Both stories served as a reminder of thanks for not only conducting checkpoints but for the job they perform day in and day out to keep us safe.
On the night of the second checkpoint, MADD supplied coffee for the troopers at their checkpoint briefing. Both nights were colder than usual for the Lowcountry. Despite the cold, both checkpoints successfully pulled potential DUI offenders off of the roadways of Charleston, Berkeley, and Dorchester Counties.
Hopefully these are the first two of many more dedicated checkpoints that MADD SC and law enforcement partner on. Having another way to acknowledge our law enforcement personnel while remembering our victims is only going to increase the power of our message around the state of South Carolina.