Operation Click Spark Plug Sean McGrath Wins International Award for Preventing Teen Car Crashes

The Daily Herald’s Chuck Keeshan reported yesterday afternoon that Crystal Lake Police Office Sean McGrath has been awarded the International Association of Chiefs of Police’s J. Stannard Baker Award for Highway Safety.

Only one police officer in the whole world gets this recognition.

Sponsored by the Northwestern University Center for Public Safety, it “annually recognizes individual law enforcement officers and others who have made significant achievements in highway safety. The award is designed to recognize law enforcement officers and others who have made significant contributions to, or outstanding achievements in, highway safety.”

What the judges looked for is someone who has developed a “unique law enforcement/ community traffic safety program.”

McGrath has done that through the development of Operation Click.

The program’s mission statement:

“Operation Click strives to encourage high school students to make a personal decision to wear their safety belts. This is accomplished through positive reinforcement, and prize giveaways. Operation Click has successfully raised the seat belt compliance rate among students from 65% to 95%, reducing the number of severe injuries during motor vehicle crashes and saving lives.”

McGrath has certainly done that.

I missed this year’s awards ceremony, but reported on it in 2007.

The program he supplies the heart and brain for has increased high school student seat belt use by offering incentives, including a new car from Crystal Lake Pontiac-GMC Truck, owned by Sam Oginni.

Here is the story I wrote about the 2007 award ceremony:

And the Last Shall Be First

Here are the other stories that have appeared on McHenry County Blog:

Five New High Schools Joining Operation Click Current Four in District 155

Operation Cool (now called “Operation Click”) Answer to Teen Car Deaths?

Unfunded Mandates Suddenly OK with Chicago Tribune

This is a program that could started in any community. A new car is not needed. A used one would do, I think.

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The chart at the top is a bit out of date, but still shows what the program accomplished in Crystal Lake’s District 155 High Schools.

Crystal Lake Police Officer Sean McGrath can be seen working a tanker truck accident at Route 14 and Coventry Lane.

Below the two teens with Operation Click tee shirts is Kate McNamee, winner of the 2007 new Pontiac from Sam Oginni, owner of Crystal Lake Pontiac.

Next McGrath tends to one of the details before the 2007 luncheon. You can see the wrecked car in which Oginni’s daughter was not killed.

At the bottom Kate McNamee hugs Same Oginni after winning his car in May of 2007.

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