Letter: Participate in rally to fight drunken driving

Citizens of Anchorage,

After our city went more than a year without any alcohol-related fatalities, on June 30 a car being driven by 20-year-old Citari Townes-Sweatt was T-boned and she was killed by a drunken driver. Another impaired-driving fatality occurred on July 12, when Marcia Mausali died after being ejected from a vehicle that lost control on Commercial Drive.

And just this past weekend, Anchorage witnessed the heartbreaking deaths of 15-year-old Brooke McPheters and 15-year-old Jordyn Durr, two teenagers walking home from the mall after shopping for back-to-school items. In 2012, there was one alcohol-related fatality. 

These alcohol-related fatalities are far too many and have left our community wondering what can we do to stop any more preventable tragedies from occurring. In order to make the streets and sidewalks of Anchorage a safe place for our children, families, drivers and bicyclists, the scourge of drunken driving must be ended. Your Anchorage Police Department needs the community’s help to make this happen.

When you are out and about, be REDDI — Report Every Dangerous Driver Immediately. If you know someone who is about to drive drunk, offer them a ride or a cab. If they insist on driving, call 911 and report the incident immediately.

In addition to asking citizens to be proactive in reporting dangerous drivers the Anchorage Police Department is pleased to announce some additional steps we will be taking to create safer streets in Anchorage. We will be sharing our plans at a community rally at 6 p.m. Friday at the West High Auditorium and invite all to attend. This rally will also be an opportunity for us to recognize the victims of impaired drivers and their families, and let them know we stand behind them. 

Over this past week we have reached out to businesses and volunteer groups for participation in this rally and the response has been not only supportive but inspiring. It shows us that our community is ready for change and ready to take action. We look forward to seeing the results of a community-wide effort to create a city where we can safely and freely enjoy all that this place has to offer. 

Thank you for your participation.

— Mark Mew

Chief, Anchorage Police Department