LOOK UP LEBO This month, as students head back to class, Mt. Lebanon police will be out in force near school zones before and after school aggressively looking for unsafe driving. The annual safe school zone initiative will begin the first week of school and last for several weeks, as children and drivers become accustomed to the school zones and new traffic flow. Officers then will continue unannounced school zone enforcement efforts throughout the school year.
“The safety of our children is a priority of our department. School zones should be the safest roadways in our community,” says Police Chief Aaron Lauth.
The department will also deploy digital speed signs, displaying the speeds of cars and visually warning drivers who exceed the speed limit.
In addition to enforcing the reduced speed limits in school zones, officers will focus on bad driving, texting while driving, seat belt usage and child passenger safety laws. Visit www.mtlsd.org to view the traffic plans for drop-off and pick-up at each school, as well as the suggested safe walking routes for children.
To help ensure school zone safety, Mt. Lebanon Police Department suggests:
Give yourself plenty of time in the morning, so you’re not tempted to speed. As traffic volumes and road congestion increase, so does the length of time it takes to travel to your destination.
Be patient. Impatience leads to aggressive driving, rude or unwarranted behavior, pedestrian and bicycle collisions and gridlock. Remember, everyone has the same goal in mind: to get our children safely to and from school.
Be prepared, so you’re not the driver who causes a traffic jam or accident. Familiarize yourself with the “Go Zone” regulations at your child’s school (generally, wait your turn and drop the child at the designated safe location). Have the children ready to leave the car, with all of their belongings, when you stop.
Watch and obey the school crossing guards.
WEB UPGRADE Mt. Lebanon Police Department has an updated website at www.mtlebanonpd.org. The website makes it easy to download the Tip411 app, see the interactive crime map and sign up for police alerts on the department’s new system, called MLPDalerts. The alerts will send you links to bulletins you need to know, along with helpful photos. You also are able to send anonymous tips that pertain to the alert.
JOIN THE ACADEMY You still have time to register for the 2017 Citizens Fire Academy. The first session is September 13, and the program runs Wednesdays through mid-November, with one Saturday session, on November 4. Participants will learn about vehicle rescue, forcible entry, thermal imaging, technical rescue and hazmat, emergency management, fire science and prevention. Students also will attend a live burn, ride along on a fire shift, become certified in CPR and ride in the ladder truck. The 10-week class is free and open to all residents and business owners in Mt. Lebanon. But space is limited. Print out an application at www.mtlfd.org.
MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS In September, police officers will be completing a workshop called Mental Health First Aid training. The purpose is to train officers to quickly identify a community member who is having a mental health crisis. “It’s a special session geared toward public safety,” says Police Chief Aaron Lauth, “to further our knowledge of people in crisis so we can help and de-escalate those situations.”
The session also gives officers information and resources they can share with people in crises and their families, so that people with mental health challenges can receive help.
The class is just a refresher. More than 95 percent of Mt. Lebanon’s police officers already have been trained through the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT), a week-long scenario-based program of the National Alliance on Mental Illness that brings together law enforcement, mental health providers, hospital emergency departments and people with mental illness and their families to improve responses to mental health crises
“A lot of people we run into have hit that last straw,” Lauth says. “We want to make sure our officers have the resources and training to deal with those sorts of issues.”
For more info on CIT: www.nami.org/Law-Enforcement-and-Mental-Health/What-Is-CIT
Details on Mental Health First Aid: www.mentalhealthfirstaid.org/cs/
NEW ASSISTANT FIRE CHIEF The Mt. Lebanon Fire Department has promoted Lt. Sean Daniels into its newly created position of assistant chief. Daniels was a volunteer Mt. Lebanon firefighter from 2002 through 2005, when he became a lieutenant in the career corps.
Daniels will be second in command in the department and assist Fire Chief Nick Sohyda, filling in for him when he’s away at training and helping to take some meeting duties and other leadership roles.
The duties included in the new position traditionally were handled by an administrative deputy chief, but, as Sohyda explains, since deputy chief is a union job, it sometimes created issues with overtime and supervision. The department previously had six deputies; now there will be five.
Daniels, a Buffalo native (and still a Bills fan), started his career in banking, with positions in analysis and marketing. That will serve the department well in his new position. “Sean has an amazing analytic background from his work at PNC,” Sohyda says. That talent will allow him to efficiently look at data to find improvements in operations.
Daniels says his financial background also will help him manage budgets to be “as fiscally responsible as possible for the community.”
Daniels holds a bachelor of arts in fire prevention technology from Western Illinois University and an MBA from Canisius College. He has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Buffalo.
Daniels is an active community volunteer and a triathlete who competes in the prestigious Ironman races. He and his wife, Karin, live on Briarwood Avenue and have two grown daughters.