The Hillsborough Police Department is participating as a team in the Walk Like MADD and MADD Dash to raise funds and awareness for impaired driving.
Officer Chad Wilson and Lt. Andy Simmons decided to participate in the Mothers Against Drunk Driving event after they realized it was an opportunity to involve the community in an issue that affects them. They brought the idea to the department and formed a team.
The Raleigh Walk like MADD and MADD Dash will take place in Garner on June 2. Registration is open to all, and community members can join the Hillsborough PD team.
The departmental fundraising goal is $3,000, and they have raised $200 so far. Team members are responsible for committing a certain amount of money to raise which is then contributed directly to MADD.
“$3,000 is the monetary goal, but the main goal is to decrease the numbers of those out there driving impaired and also get the community involved," Wilson said. "And by doing so, it lets them in on the awareness and what is actually the problem."
Teams that raise the most money gain recognition and awards. One award is the Battle of the Badge, which pits law enforcement agencies against each other to see who can fundraise the most.
The money raised goes toward supporting MADD’s victim support services, which includes a 24-hour support hotline that can be reached at 877-MADD-HELP.
Each state that participates has different Walk Like MADD events throughout the spring and fall. The Walk Like MADD event is MADD’s main fundraiser, and this year is their tenth anniversary.
It will be bigger in size and scope, said Irene Dwinnell, North Carolina state executive director for MADD. They had about 400 participants last year, and around 100 of those were runners, even though it was the first year the Raleigh event had hosted a run.
The event is designed to increase awareness and provide support for victims of impaired driving. It’s an opportunity to rally the community together and show the resources available to them, Dwinnell said.
“It’s designed to give a place where those who have been impacted, whether through loss of a loved one or injury to a loved one, where they can join together in solidarity and numbers and just see the sheer vision of watching that many people come out and say, 'we’re with you, we’re behind you, we support you,'" she said.
It's common for companies and law enforcement agencies to form teams for the event, but Dwinnell said the Hillsborough police are in a unique position to benefit the community.
“I also think that the more law enforcement gets involved, it helps the community to see all sides of law enforcement, not just the side that is dealing with negative behaviors,” she said.
Danielle King is a senior administrative support specialist for Hillsborough Police and is participating in the walk by donating to the cause. She is currently fundraising as well.
“My main goal is to get funds towards it,” King said. “I feel very strongly against drunk driving, especially having worked so many years around law enforcement as a dispatcher. I wanted to help get donations contributed.”
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