My experience with my grandson, Robert Thacker being in my car before A-Nod for Situational Awareness came along.
One day, possibly seven or eight years ago, I was driving down Euclid Avenue to go shopping at Merle Hay Mall. Robert was sitting in the back seat of the car in his booster seat. I told him to stay buckled, but he wouldn’t have any part of that. I was going a little bit too fast down the road and got pulled over by the Des Moines Police Department. I stopped and before the officer approached the car to ask for my insurance and license, Robert jumped out of his seat and got in the face of the police officer telling her to take him to jail. Robert has had several family members explain the importance of being buckled and how DesMoines Officers may if they ever performed a traffic stop would question him if they noticed he wasn’t buckled. We also discussed with him the importance of a seatbelt and the consequences without it.
As I look back to that day maybe the reason why Robert left the vehicle was that he was afraid and unsure how the Officers were approaching him. Also, due to his sensory-anxiety issues and misperceptions he could have thought that the police officer would then begin to talk with him about remaining in his seat as Grandma had said or what they might do next.
I unfortunately wasn’t able to vocalize any of these thoughts to the officer on the scene. The officer immediately told Robert to get back in the car and get buckled up. So he did.
She could have given me a ticket for speeding, but instead gave me one for almost $200 for not having Robert buckled in his seat. Ouch! This said at that time, I am sure the police officer was just doing her job and did the right thing. Still, I believe that maybe if there would have been an A-Nod for situational awareness triangle in the back window of my car, it might have made a difference in the way she approached the situation, if she had learned about A-Nod from the training that the officers are now receiving. Hindsight tells me the outcome may have been the same, but I don’t know for sure.
Awareness is important and does make a difference for all involved, that's why there is a need for A-Nod!