Officers from two Whitley County police agencies were among the more than 200 officers honored recently by the Kentucky Office of Highway Safety (KOHS), for their efforts to target impaired drivers. In addition, a Williamsburg police lieutenant also received an all-star award for his work regarding impaired driving enforcement.
The 2019 Governor’s Impaired Driving Enforcement Awards ceremony was held on Dec. 5 at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Lexington. Awards were presented to officers with the most impaired-driving arrests in each agency and Highway Safety All-Star awards were presented to the top three in each division.
In the second division, which includes agencies with 11-25 officers, Williamsburg Police Officer Dorman Patrick Jr. and Corbin Patrolman Justin Walker each won awards for impaired-driving arrests.
Patrick led his department in apprehending 31 impaired drivers from the streets. The Williamsburg Police Department as a whole removed a total of 103 impaired drivers from Oct. 1, 2018 – Sept. 30, 2019, according to a Williamsburg Police Department release.
Kentucky State Police Trooper Steve Walker from KSP Post 11 in London had the most impaired driver arrests not only for his post but he also had the most impaired driving arrests of any state enforcement officer.
KSP Trooper Sidney Wagner of KSP Post 10 in Harlan, which covers Knox County, led his post in arrests.
“It was an honor to accept this award,” Wagner said in a release. “If you plan to drink alcohol, make sure you plan for a designated driver.”
Other area officers, who lead their departments and received individual awards, include: Barbourville Police Department Patrolman Karl Middleton, Pineville Police Department Officer Michael Smith, Rockcastle County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Kirk Mays, Middlesboro Police Department Sgt. Barry Cowan, London Police Department Patrolman Andrew Lawson, Laurel County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Jake Miller, and KSP Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Eastern Region Officer Kalin Caudill.
In addition to the individual and division impaired driving arrest awards, the KOHS also presented special recognition Highway Safety All-Star awards to those who aided in the recent improvement of Kentucky’s Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) and Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE) training.
Within the last two years, Kentucky recertified 32 DRE officers and trained 11 new DRE officers. A total of 17 ARIDE classes hosted throughout the state trained 486 officers.
Williamsburg Police Lt. Brandon White was one of 14 people, who received a Highway Safety All-Star Award.
All winners received a plaque, while the top three winners from each division were presented with the Highway Safety All-Star Award – an encased commemorative baseball bat from Louisville Slugger.
“Today is more than just receiving an award,” said KOHS Acting Director Jason Siwula. “It is about saving lives and that is what officers do every time they arrest an impaired driver.”
According to the Fatality Analysis Reporting System, last year in Kentucky, there were 4,742 crashes related to impaired driving, resulting in 2,415 injuries and 124 deaths. This represented an across the board decrease compared to 2017’s 5,350 reported crashes related to impaired driving, resulting in 2,781 injuries and 154 deaths.
“Impaired driving is 100 percent preventable,” said Siwula. “While we’re pleased with the decrease, one death is too many. Our office will continue to support law enforcement efforts to remove impaired drivers from our roads, including providing federal funds for additional enforcement during this holiday season.”
The KOHS, Kentucky State Police and local law enforcement agencies are partnering for the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over holiday enforcement campaign. Officers will be out Dec. 13, 2019 through Jan. 1, 2020 watching for any moving hazardous violation, with an emphasis on impaired driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration funds the campaign and reports high-visibility enforcement reduces impaired driving fatalities by as much as 20 percent.
“It’s exciting to see Kentucky law enforcement agencies setting the bar in impaired driving enforcement,” said Grundy County Sheriff and DRE Expert Clint Shrum from Tennessee. “The countless number of lives that have been saved because of their efforts may never be known. I appreciate and applaud their success.”
To report any drunken drivers you see, call the KSP hotline at 1-800-222-5555.