The Kentucky Office of Highway Safety (KOHS) honored 205 law enforcement officers from 175 agencies across the Commonwealth, including one Williamsburg police officer, on Dec. 13 for their efforts to target impaired drivers.
The 2016 Governor’s Impaired Driving Enforcement Awards ceremony was held at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Lexington. Awards were presented to officers with the most impaired-driving arrests in each agency.
“We are honoring those who put their lives on the line each day to save the lives of others,” said KOHS Executive Director Dr. Noelle Hunter. “These officers, their departments and agencies render a great service for all Kentuckians, and on behalf of Governor Matt Bevin, we say thank you.”
Williamsburg Police Sgt. Brandon White, who is a nationally certified Drug Recognition Expert (DRE), was honored for leading his department in DUI arrests.
“Brandon has consistently won it for the last five or six years. He works hard, especially now that he is a DRE. It is really deserved on his part,” noted Williamsburg Police Chief Wayne Bird.
Laurel County Sheriff’s Sgt. Larry Parrott was also honored. He led his department and all of Division Three, which includes departments with 25-49 officers, with 68 DUI citations issued.
Kentucky State Police Trooper Steve Walker, who is assigned to post 11 in London, lead all state police and Commercial Vehicle Enforcement (CVE) officers in DUI arrests with 181 DUI citations issued.
Other local officers, who were honored, included; Barbourville Patrolman Elijah Broughton, London Police Patrolman Michael Wilson, Division 4 CVE Senior Officer Michael Hamblin, and KSP Post 10 in Harlan Trooper Justin Barton.
Kentucky State Police Commissioner Richard Sanders commended the aggressive enforcement and awareness efforts.
“Impaired driving is one of the deadliest crimes in this nation and it impacts thousands of innocent lives every day,” said Sanders. “Today is more than just receiving an award. It is about saving lives and that is what each of you do every time you arrest an impaired driver.”
Last year, more than 5,900 crashes involving alcohol and/or drugs in Kentucky resulted in more than 3,100 injuries and 162 fatalities.
WKYT-TV news anchor Amber Philpot shared that her 13 years of experience allows her to report on stories that can make a difference and, in some cases, change a person’s perspective.
“In the news business, just like in law enforcement, we see the worst of things,” said Philpott. “However, I believe it is eye-opening for our viewers when they see personal stories on how a split-second decision changed someone’s life – I know it is for me. That one act of getting behind the wheel after a few drinks, or looking down to answer the phone or send a text message, isn’t worth the risk.”
The KOHS, Kentucky State Police and other law enforcement agencies are partnering for the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over holiday enforcement campaign Dec.15, 2016, through Jan. 1, 2017. The campaign is funded through NHTSA, which says high-visibility enforcement reduces impaired driving fatalities by as much as 20 percent.