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Cumberland Schools "Adopt" Troopers

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FAYETTEVILLE — Police officers and sheriff's deputies in area high schools are nothing new. Now, for the first time, state troopers are stationed in Cumberland County High Schools, too.

The Adopt-a-Trooper program is designed to keep students from becoming victims.

Young people don't realize that the number one killer for their age group is traffic accidents.

Troopers talk about traffic deaths they've witnessed, and show gruesome scene videos. Their hope is that the students will get the message to drive safely.

"You really never take it seriously. But when you somebody you know (dies) or when you hear about somebody or see somebody dead, it really has a different effect on you. You know it's a serious situation," one student said.

"Our kids are real eager to get their driver's licenses, those 16-year-olds. We've also found, especially my association with the athletes, that very often within in the first 30 to 60 days they've had a fender-bender," said Assistant Principal Jackie Warner.

The troopers get to know the kids on a personal level. That makes their warnings about drugs and alcohol that much more effective.

"I think it'll make a lot of people think before -- now they have more of a knowledge of what can happen to them after they drink and the consequences they could face it something did happen," said student Sarah Bailey.

The troopers are also making the areas around high schools safer for students and their parents.

"Troopers are going to be working speed zones near that high school," says Sgt. R.E. Clendenin of the N.C. Highway Patrol. "They're going to be involved in the parking lot, riding through the parking lot. They're going to be shadowing school buses."

The officers involved say if they can keep just one student from becoming a statistic, then all their efforts will have paid off.

To make their community efforts more effective, schools "adopt" troopers who regularly patrol the area so students recognize them on and off campus.

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John McDonnell, Reporter
Greg Clark, Photographer
Kay Miller, Web Editor

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