STOPPED notifies parents when teens are pulled over.

May 29, 2019

Left to right: State Farm agents Matt Tuinstra and Brad Chapman, State Rep. Jack O’Malley, Mason County Sheriff Kim Cole, Sgt. John Balowski and CEO/Executive Director of the Michigan Sheriff’s Association Blaine Koops.

STOPPED notifies parents when teens are pulled over.

By Allison Scarbrough, Editor.

LUDINGTON – The Mason County Sheriff’s Office is one of two counties in Michigan now using the automated STOPPED program, also called e-STOPPED.

It is a program that gives parents an immediate notification via text or email of when their teen driver is pulled over by the police.

Parents can register online at misheriff.org for any vehicle that will be driven by someone in the 16-21 age group. They will receive a decal with an identification number that must be affixed to the left-side rear window.

When a young driver is pulled over, the deputy enters the sticker’s number into their dash computer to obtain the parents’ contact information. The officer then sends a text or email to the parents telling them what occurred during the traffic stop.

The Mason County Sheriff’s Office held a press conference Wednesday afternoon, May 29, explaining how the program works.

“As a former crash reconstructionist, I can tell you that the greatest percent – highest rate – are among our young drivers,” said Mason County Sheriff Kim Cole. “This program is an excellent opportunity for moms and dads to walk alongside local sheriff’s offices to help correct bad decisions. Our fatal wrecks among our youth often occur as a result of a bad decision. If we can correct those bad decisions before they become habits, we have a greater chance of saving lives in the process. And that certainly is our goal.”

“The STOPPED program has been around for about 10 years and was developed by a sheriff in New York state,” said CEO/Executive Director of the Michigan Sheriff’s Association Blaine Koops. “The old STOPPED program was all paper driven, so the deputy had to fill in a report, mail it to our office, and then our office would review it and then send a notification to the parent. It took two to four weeks before the parents found out.

“We’ve automated the entire program,” Koops said. “This is on the edge. You’re going to see a real change in how we do traffic enforcement because of this program.”

Deputies are more community service oriented now, Koops said, so this program allows officers to give kids’ warnings – and the parents will automatically have knowledge of it.

“By the time the kid gets home, the parent already knows about it. It’s simple and efficient.”

Koops said it’s also helpful for compiling traffic analytics for the 16-21 age group.

The acronym stands for Sheriffs Telling Our Parents and Promoting Educated Drivers.

“Sometimes our teens are still learning,” said State Rep. Jack O’Malley who chairs state transportation committee. “This is just another tool so kids learn, and especially in rural communities, speed can sometimes get excessive, and that can cause problems.”

State Farm Insurance contributed $40,000 toward the design and development of the program. Local agents Matt Tuinstra and Brad Chapman also spoke at the conference.

“One of State Farm’s main goals is to reduce accidents and keep our customers safe,” said Chapman.

STOPPED is another way that State Farm will “help life go right” for customers Tuinstra said.

Livingston County is the other pilot county involved in the program. Saginaw and Kent counties also recently signed up. Koops said he is expecting the program to “roll out” state-wide by the end of the year.

This story is copyrighted © 2019, all rights reserved by Media Group 31, LLC, PO Box 21, Scottville, MI 49454. No portion of this story or images may be reproduced in any way, including print or broadcast, without expressed written consent.

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