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City workers take part in defensive driving program

A City of Warren building code department employee drives through the weave portion of the John Rock Defensive Driving Specialists course Friday at Betts Park.

City of Warren personnel got some recent driving lessons.

John Rock Defensive Driving Specialists put DPW, fire department, and other personnel through a defensive driving program at Betts Park.

Each driver had to back their vehicle — from small SUVs and unmarked police cruisers, to full-sized pickups, a dump truck, an ambulance, even a fire engine — into a confined space, handle a slalom, navigate a weave course and do some heavy, but controlled, braking.

The drivers went through the course four times each, and were expected to get close to 20 miles per hour in the slalom and weave by the end.

“We try to get them up to 20, Dianna Marcinik of JRDDS said. “It feels different” at higher speeds.

Times Observer photos by Brian Ferry City of Warren Fire Department personnel work through the John Rock Defensive Driving Specialists program Friday at Betts Park. A driver put the city ambulance through the slalom part of the course while another backed an engine into a confined space.

“The whole idea is to learn something while you’re having fun,” Rock said. “They’re having fun.”

The program was paid for by the city’s insurance provider — PennPRIME. “It’s great that we can offer this to the city employees,” Police Capt. Jeff Dougherty said.

The driving course was only part of the experience.

“This is a cumulative training day,” Dougherty said. “I presented distracted and defensive driving this morning.”

The course was Part 2.

Fire Department Operations and Training Officer Steve Hoffman led the staff through the employee safety manual and fire extinguisher training in the afternoon.

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