San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

March 12th, 2009
Academy alums donate doll to law enforcement

Front row, left to right: Detective Kathy Misiaszek, Assistant District Attorney (ADA) Cathy Compton, San Marcos Police Department (SMPD) Commander Penny Dunn, Hays County Sheriff Tommy Ratliff, Hays County District Attorney Sherri Tibbe, Greg Wurzbach and McBride Wilson of San Marcos Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association. Second row, left to right: Detective Jeri Skrocki, ADA Fred Weber, San Marcos Mayor Susan Narvaiz, Sven Furhmann, Glen Cook and Kent Perrine. Third row, left to right, Allan Hamlin, Anita Fuller, Renne Sample, Kathleen McCarty, Charlene Wood and  Rosie Vela.

STAFF REPORT

The San Marcos Citizen’s Police Academy Alumni Association (SMCPAAA) donated a shaken baby doll to local law enforcement.

The doll, manufactured by RealityWorks and valued at $700, is designed to demonstrate possible injuries to an infant or toddler by having areas of the head light up when a baby is shaken or struck.

San Marcos Police Department (SMPD) Commander Penny Dunn, Hays County Sheriff Tommy Ratliff and Hays County District Attorney Sherri Tibbe were on hand to accept the gift at SMPD headquarters.

“We are extremely grateful to the SMCPAAA for their ongoing support for the San Marcos Police and law enforcement in Hays County,” said Dunn. “SMCPAAA saw the value of this equipment for use by multiple agencies for training of officers, educating the public and prosecution of offenders who seriously injure or kill children.”

Shaken baby syndrome (SBS) is a form of child abuse that occurs when an infant or toddler is violently shaken, causing a whiplash-type motion. According to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, between 1,200-1,600 children are affected yearly by SBS. Often there are no outward signs of trauma. Health complications that can arise from SBS, aside from death, include visual, motor and cognitive impairments.

“This doll demonstrates how very fragile infants are,” Tibbe said. “Maybe we can prevent such terrible injuries from happening  to other babies in the future.”

The doll will be used by city and county personnel to train law enforcement officers, prosecutors, judges and others on the dangers of shaking a child. The doll can also be used for demonstrations in court and in grand jury proceedings. Ratliff hopes he can use the doll in outreach to students at Hays County middle and high schools.

This is not the only contribution SMCPAAA has made to local law enforcement. It has donated more than $30,000 worth of equipment through the years, including training materials, lights and mounts for rifles, lighting equipment, bicycles, a digital camera, a drug dog and a treadmill.

The SMCPAAA was founded in 1998. The association assists with the continuing education of Citizen Police Academy graduates. Volunteers annually participate in Operation Blue Santa, tax-free weekend and Black Friday shopping at the outlet malls. For more information visit its website.

ADA Cathy Compton discusses the use of the doll in the prosecution of child abuse cases.

SMPD Commander Dunn points out areas of the brain injured when an infant is shaken.

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