Missouri State Highway Patrol receives national law enforcement award

Monday, September 27, 2010 | 11:52 a.m. CDT; updated 12:57 p.m. CDT, Monday, September 27, 2010

COLUMBIA — The Missouri State Highway Patrol won the national 2010 Outstanding Law Enforcement Agency Award from Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

MADD President Laura Dean-Mooney presented the award on Saturday at the group's national conference in Washington, D.C.

“The Missouri State Highway Patrol was recognized for its national leadership in working to stop the 100 percent preventable problem of drunk driving,” Dean-Mooney said in a news release.

The award recognizes the highway patrol’s steady level of high achievement over the past 30 years, said Capt. Tim Hull, spokesman for the Highway Patrol. The patrol has made almost 285,000 arrests for driving while intoxicated since 1980, according to a news release. That's an average of 9,500 per year.

The agency strives to improve safety every year by increasing the number of DWI checkpoints and allocating money to pay officers for overtime, Hull said. The news release said Highway Patrol troopers made 9,427 DWI arrests in 2009. They also conducted 62 sobriety checkpoints across Missouri that year, checking more than 22,200 vehicles.

The highway patrol was nominated by the Jefferson City chapter of MADD, said Phaedra Olsen, director of victim services at MADD’s Jefferson City office. While the agency had been nominated before, this was the first time they met the criteria set by MADD President Dean-Mooney.

“This is a tremendous and well-deserved honor for all the men and women of the Missouri State Highway Patrol,” Gov. Jay Nixon said in a news release. “I thank Mothers Against Drunk Driving for recognizing not only the commitment of the entire patrol to the problem of drunk driving, but also the patrol’s decades of leadership.”

“We are overwhelmed and proud that the government and the highway patrol worked together to receive this award,” said Mike Boland of the Missouri chapter of MADD. Boland called it an “extremely prestigious award” by an organization with about 400 chapters and 2 million members.

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