Seymour officer recognized as Traffic Safety All-Star

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb and the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute recognized 83 police officers, including one with the Seymour Police Department, for their efforts in saving lives while putting a stop to impaired driving.

Seymour Officer Anthony Desender and the other Hoosier officers received the Traffic Safety All-Star award Tuesday during a ceremony at Victory Field in Indianapolis.

To qualify for the award, an officer — nominated by their department — must have displayed outstanding performance in impaired driving enforcement, according to a news release from the institute.

This could include a significant number of arrests or leadership to promote impaired driving prevention.

“I am deeply grateful to the officers who work tirelessly to keep our roads and communities safe,” Holcomb said. “Their commitment to curbing impaired driving is admirable, and their efforts have saved countless lives. I congratulate them on their well-deserved, hard-earned achievement.”

Now in its fourth year, the program was created by the institute as a way to recognize police officers who are going and beyond in the fight against impaired driving.

“The brave men and women who patrol our roads are the first line of defense against drunk and drug-impaired driving,” said Devon McDonald, the institute’s executive director. “Every time they make a stop, they potentially save a life. Our roads and communities are safer, and people are alive today thanks to their dedicated service. We owe them a debt of gratitude.”

Each officer demonstrated this by not only working to educate motorists about the importance of safe driving but also working overtime to enforce 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 more than 3,500 operating while intoxicated arrests last year. Despite their efforts, still, approximately 1 out of 5 fatal crashes in Indiana involves a drunk driver.

“These all-stars are stepping up to the plate to make our roads safer. Their goal is to prevent crashes and save lives, and their work is needed now more than ever,” said Jim Bryan, the institute’s traffic safety director. “These individuals and organizations are working tirelessly to educate the public about the dangers of impaired driving, to enforce the law and to provide support to those affected by impaired driving. They are all-stars in the truest sense of the word, and we are grateful for their dedication.”

As part of the program, the institute also sought to highlight the importance of high-visibility enforcement and 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.