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Editorial: Kanawha sheriff hoping to make prom night positively memorable

Everyone wants to remember great things about their prom, that fine gala night in their junior or senior year in high school that has become a cultural tradition in America.

The Kanawha County sheriff’s department and other area law enforcement are working to make sure that proms in the county are remembered for only good things.

Thanks to $15,000 from the county commision, courtesy of county voters who approved the excess levy, prom nights and graduation nights are safer for high school students in Kanawha County.

Deputies are hoping to keep their record of no prom night or graduation day fatalities intact through Operation Gradution Prom Alive, or GPA.

The program has been a success in preventing fatalities since it began nine years ago. Such success wasn’t the case before the program started.

“For many years we had fatalities during prom and graduation season,” Sheriff John Rutherford said during a news conference announcing the program. “This program has helped us change that course.”

The program brings deputies, State Police and city police together to watch over students as they celebrate the end of high school.

When students arrive at their proms, they’ll find deputies, troopers and city police officers standing watch, along with medics from the Kanawha County Emergency Ambulance Authority, staying through the event.

“We’re not here to keep them from having a good time,” chief deputy Mike Rutherford said. “But we want them to remember it and live long, happy lives.”

Keeping kids safe, particularly during celebratory times when some are prone to lapses in judgment, is a fine use of time of emergency services personnel and county funds.

Thanks to the police and medics who take part, and particularly, to the voters who fund it.

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