New Canaan Police teach traffic safety to Boy Scouts
Updated 10:00 am, Tuesday, April 26, 2011
When it comes to her job description, New Canaan Police Sgt. Carol Ogrinc goes above and beyond. When Boy Scout Troop 70 needed help with some of their merit badge requirements, she was more than happy to oblige.
Last Friday, Troop 70 arrived at the police department ready to learn to receive their traffic safety merit badge. More than 15 scouts were on hand learning everything from seat belt safety to tire pressure mechanics.
This was not the first time Ogrinc helped out Troop 70. She previously taught them about the principles of fingerprinting, yet another general requirement merit badge. Scouts have to earn 21 merit badges to attain the highest honor of Eagle Scout. Out of those 21 badges, 12 of them have to come from a required list, while the other nine can be general badges.
Mary McCauley, one of the merit badge coordinators for the troop, explained that the boys had a choice of completing either Traffic Safety or a few other general requirement badges.
"I was really surprised the boys wanted to do this merit badge," McCauley said. "However, I am pleased and hopefully we'll have some future really good drivers and kids that will listen to the rules and they'll know the regulations."
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The main theme of the event was major traffic safety problems in New Canaan. Ogrinc stressed that most accidents and issues police see in town have to do with people speeding, following too closely and distracted driving. They also discussed other major issues like drunk driving and the rules of the road.
Aside from those conversations, the boys were able to get hands-on for the badge as well. One of the first things Ogrinc showed the kids was basic maintenance safety of cars. That meant making sure the headlights, taillights and brake lights are all functioning properly. She also discussed all wheel drive, anti-lock brakes, airbags and the actual purpose of headrests.
"Those headrests you see on cars are not so you can just lean your head back to relax," she said.. "If you get into an accident, [the headrest] catches your head so it does not snap back."
The kids also learned how to check tire pressure on Ogrinc's vehicle, the safe stopping distance required at certain speeds and the significance of different signs and signals.
For Ogrinc, the experience was great and also taught her the importance of scouting.
"Each of these merit badges are pretty in-depth. They have to know everything about this stuff. It almost makes them experts," she said. "It was great to have them here. They are very inquisitive and eager to learn. It makes it fun."