Faith leaders stood behind a California police chief Tuesday in a united effort to stop an epidemic of drunk driving.
The group wanted to spread the message: “We have faith you will make the right choice.”
“We’re going to try something different in Escondido,” said Chief of Police Craig Carter.
Carter began discussions in September 2017 with faith-based leaders to reach more residents and convince them not to get behind the wheel while under the influence.
“I don’t know if this has been done before,” he added.
Carter was surrounded by ministers and youth group leaders who have committed to speaking to the followers of their organizations on the risks of driving after drinking or using drugs.
One of the ministers was Rev. Scott Herrera who preaches to approximately 6,000 people every Sunday at St. Mary Parish.
“We have to do more to educate the community to drive safely and to drive in the best way possible without taking meds or anything that might influence their driving abilities,” Herrera said.
Ruben Rodriguez works as the Director of Escondido Christian High School. Just last year, the father of a student was struck by a driver under the influence.
“My students have felt this pain,” he said.
Rodriguez said it’s important to hold people accountable.
“If we don’t hold people accountable and leave people to their own devices, we know they will do the wrong thing because we are fallible,” he said.
The partnership involves more than 24 congregations and faith centers within the city.
The goal is to curb the instances of a crime that's 100 percent avoidable.
"We don't just pray for our communities," said Agner Medrano, from Victory Outreach Ministries. "But also we are reclaiming back our communities through this message."