Two area law enforcement officers were recently honored by the Kentucky Office of Highway Safety for their work in targeting alcohol- and drug-impaired drivers.
Grayson County Sheriff’s Deputy Billy Meredith and Leitchfield Police Officer Tim Moutardier were among 197 law enforcement officers from 164 agencies statewide recognized for their efforts to keep impaired drivers off Kentucky’s roads.
The 2012 Governor’s Impaired Driving Enforcement Awards ceremony was held Wednesday, Dec. 5, at the Galt House Hotel and Suites in Louisville. Awards were presented to officers with the most impaired driving arrests in each agency and division.
“Impaired driving is not an accident — it’s an epidemic of careless disregard for human life,” said KOHS Director Bill Bell, who presented the awards at the ceremony. “These officers, their departments and agencies render a great service for public safety by removing drunken and drugged drivers from our roads.”
According to statistics provided by KOHS, Meredith was responsible for 21 DUI arrests — half of the department’s arrests for the year.
Moutardier was recognized for making 11 of the city department’s 29 DUI arrests.
Last year, Kentucky recorded more than 5,600 crashes related to drugs and alcohol, resulting in 150 deaths and more than 3,000 injuries.
“Public safety improves exponentially every time an impaired driver is removed from the roadway,” said Kentucky State Police Commissioner Rodney Brewer. “Were it not for the actions of these men and women, there would undoubtedly be more crashes, injuries or worse on our roadways.”
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 1 in 3 Americans will be impacted by a drunken driving crash in his or her lifetime.
“Research shows high-visibility enforcement reduces impaired-driving fatalities by as much as 20 percent,” said NHTSA Region III Law Enforcement Liaison Bill Tower. “While many people are getting the message, there are still too many who just don’t understand that alcohol and driving are a fatal combination.”
The officers on hand to be honored were to have included Marion County Sheriff’s Deputy Anthony Rakes, who tied for highest number of impaired driving arrests within his agency. But Rakes died from gunshot wounds sustained during a Nov. 14 traffic stop. After a moment of silence, Rakes’ award was accepted by Marion County Sheriff Jimmy Clements.
To raise awareness of the dangers of impaired driving and to alert the public of an increased enforcement presence over the holidays, the annual “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign began Friday and will run through Jan. 1, 2013. This campaign is sponsored by NHTSA and the KOHS.