By Aaron Ricca/THE BEE
KINGMAN – Slightly warmer weather and little wind allowed more than a thousand people to partake in the 12th Annual Walk Away from Drugs educational experience hosted by the Kingman Police Department Wednesday evening.
Short walks—no longer than a mile—began at Firefighters Memorial Park, Smith’s and Mother Road Harley Davidson and converged at Centennial Park where participants were greeted by KPD, Kingman Fire Department, Mohave County Sheriff’s Office, Arizona Department of Public Safety and other first responder personnel. The families also got a close look at first responder vehicles including patrol cruisers, traffic motorcycles, firetrucks and air rescue helicopters.
Kingman Powerhouse Kiwanis and Elks Lodge 468 cooked and served 2,000 hot dogs. GEO Group, Inc. gave out popcorn and cotton candy. Numerous other organizations were shoveling out information on drug abuse, alcohol and tobacco avoidance, public and personal health and domestic violence to name a few.
Nearly 600 students from Kingman Unified School District, Kingman Academy of Learning, K12 Blended Learning Center and Emmanuel Christian Academy drew and painted anti-drug posters. Prizes were given to the top winners in their respective age categories.
KPD Chief Bob DeVries said he talked to other law enforcement officials from throughout the state who admire Kingman’s effort to promote drug awareness and prevention.
“There’s no other community who has a walk the size of this one,” he said. “We’re proud of that.”
Although there is no way to measure how the event prevents drug abuse, DeVries said the walk is about getting the message out before drug use starts.
“We have to take this one day at a time,” he said. “We’re here to make a difference.”