Cleveland personal injury lawyer Tim Misny has represented countless families over the last 33 years whose loved one became a victim of drunk driving.
Many of Tim’s clients have received support from Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).
“The work that MADD does in our community is phenomenal,” Tim says. “Not only has MADD become an emotional Rock of Gibraltar for families of victims of drunk driving accidents, but they also tirelessly campaign to educate the public on the reality of drinking and driving and to strengthen safety laws.
“That is why I have enthusiastically agreed to sponsor a campaign to educate law enforcement officers and first responders in techniques for informing family members of the death of a loved one.”
Julie Leggett, executive director of the Northeast Ohio regional MADD office, will coordinate this program, which will include Lake, Geauga, Cuyahoga and Lorain counties. Over 800 agencies are being invited to participate.
“It’s a great program, one of the most essential that we provide,” she says.
Four to five sessions will be held in spring 2013 to accommodate the high volume of participants. Leggett says that by holding multiple sessions, MADD will be able to provide a more interactive atmosphere.
Training sessions will be all-day events, and will count toward Continuing Education credits for officers and first responders, which Leggett says will be a welcome benefit.
“Because of Tim’s financial commitment these police officers and first responders will be able to, for the first time in our area, participate free of charge,” Julie says. “Budget cuts have prevented many departments from sending representatives to these critical seminars.”
Trainers will include Leggett, a social workers, a MADD trained facilitator and a MADD-trained police officer. Additionally, Tim will lecture on a wide variety of legal ramifications.
“Heaven forbid one of those officer leave the seminar and have to inform the family of the death of a loved one,” Leggett says. “But when they do, I know they will think, ‘I’m so glad I have this information.’”
MADD was founded in 1980 by Candice Lightner after the death of her daughter due to a drunk driving crash. By October of that year, the organization had held its first national press conference.
MADD successfully campaigned for a national blood alcohol concentration limit for drivers of .08, which was passed in 2000. In 2011, MADD served over 63,000 survivors and victims of drunk and drugged driving.
In addition to notifier training, MADD also oversees projects and victim services including support groups and resources, victims’ rights advocacy, online forums for victims, tribute opportunities, technology development to regulate drunk driving, legislative campaigns and support of law enforcement crackdowns.
“We don’t have the power to avoid cancer, we don’t have the power to avoid arthritis, but we do have the power to not get behind the wheel when we’ve been drinking,” Leggett says.
To learn more about the notifier training for Northeast Ohio police departments and first responders, visit http://www.madd.org/local-offices/oh/northeastern/local-events.html.
If you wish to donate to MADD in Northeast Ohio, go to www.madd.org/oh/northeastern to donate locally or make a $10 text donation by texting madd to 90999.