The Indiana Criminal Justice Institute presented 62 police officers, including two from Seymour, with the Traffic Safety All-Star Award for their efforts in impaired driving enforcement.
To qualify for the award, an officer must have made at least 20 operating while intoxicated arrests and participated in one of the state’s enhanced enforcement campaigns in the previous year.
The all-stars, who were nominated by their departments, were recognized during a ceremony Wednesday at Victory Field in Indianapolis.
“Every time an officer makes a stop for drunk or drug-impaired driving, they potentially save a life,” said Devon McDonald, ICJI executive director. “Our roads and communities are safer, and people are alive today thanks to the actions of these brave men and women. It was an honor to recognize their efforts.”
Those from Seymour recognized were officers Benjamin Miller and Blake McCrary. McCrary was credited with 23 operating while intoxicated arrests, while Miller had 20.
Now in its third year, the awards program was created by the institute as a way to recognize police officers who are going above and beyond in the fight against impaired driving.
Each officer demonstrated this by not only working to educate motorists about the importance of safe driving but also working overtime to enforce Indiana’s traffic laws. This often meant conducting extra high-visibility patrols or sobriety checkpoints during peak travel periods and holidays associated with drinking.
In total, the officers who were recognized made nearly 3,000 operating while intoxicated arrests last year. Despite their efforts, still, approximately 1 out of 4 fatal crashes in Indiana involves a drunk driver.
“These all-stars are stepping up to the plate to tackle the issue of impaired driving,” said Robert Duckworth, ICJI traffic safety director. “Their goal — motivation behind what they do — is to prevent crashes and save lives, and with fatalities on the rise, their work is needed now more than ever.”
During the ceremony, the top performers, or MVPs, were recognized with a special Traffic Safety All-Star Award, Golden Glove distinction. In addition, the institute also presented a separate Leadership Award for outstanding contributions outside of traffic enforcement in the prevention of impaired driving.
As part of the program, the institute also sought to highlight the importance of high-visibility enforcement as well as encourage drivers to do their part by always planning ahead for a safe ride home.
Impaired driving remains one of the deadliest, yet preventable, dangers on the road today. Even if only one drink is consumed, designate a sober driver or use public transportation or a ride service. Never drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol or let friends get behind the wheel if they’re impaired.
The institute is the state planning agency for criminal justice, juvenile justice, traffic safety and victim services. It also is designated as the state administering agency for distribution of federal funds and as the state Statistical Analysis Center for research.
ICJI is responsible for coordinating and collaborating with local, state and federal entities to identify, assess, plan, resource and evaluate new and emerging issues facing the criminal justice and public safety spectrum.
To learn more about the agency, visit cji.in.gov.