Canton Police Officer Wins National "Innovation in the Classroom" Award
Officer Chip Yeaton to share $2,000 Prize with school where he teaches; Will be honored by peers at national police conference next week
Officer Charles "Chip" Yeaton of the Canton Police Department has been named the winner of the 2011 NASRO/National Road Safety Foundation "Innovation in the Classroom Award." The award, which will be presented at the national meeting of NASRO (National Association of School Resource Officers) in Orlando on June 28, recognizes innovative teaching of traffic safety in schools by a school resource officer (SRO). It carries with it a $2,000 honorarium shared by the SRO and the school where he teaches, (Canton High School.)
In his seven years as an SRO, Officer Yeaton has implemented what he calls a "hands-on" approach to driver education. He brings his classes at Canton High School to the local police station, and he has developed a class he calls "Perception and Reality." The class encompasses a "look through my eyes" approach, where students experience what a police officer sees and how he or she feels when a traffic stop is made. A traffic stop is simulated, and students have a chance to sit in the driver's seat of the police cruiser to view it from the officer's perspective.
"This teaching approach is unique," Officer Yeaton said, "and it helps teens not only understand good driving behavior, but how to behave if they get pulled over. The students tell us it is an eye-opening experience."
Officer Yeaton also worked with the local District Attorney's Juvenile Division and the county Sheriff to create a training video that depicts a party in the woods and a teenage drunk driver vehicle stop. He worked with students in the school's drama club to develop the script and recruit actors for the film, which has been distributed to more than 130,000 homes throughout the county.
He says he enjoys being a school resource officer. "It's a fun and rewarding job. I get to make a difference in the lives of young people every day."
Officer Yeaton says he enjoys working with young people, which he has done throughout his 14-year career in law enforcement. He will be honored at the national conference of NASRO in Orlando, where some 1,500 police officers and school administrators will convene. He will give a presentation of his winning lesson plan to fellow school resource officers.
For more than 45 years, The National Road Safety Foundation (NRSF), a non-profit organization, has created driver education programs for free distribution to schools, police, traffic safety agencies, youth advocacy groups and others. NRSF has programs on speed and aggression, drinking and driving, and drowsy driving. Its newest program, Generation tXt, addresses distracted driving and young people. For more information, visit www.nrsf.org.
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