The Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Office and Cpl. Rick Porter were among those honored on Tuesday for their efforts to remove thousands of drunk driving suspects from state roads during 2011.
The Louisiana Highway Safety Commission presented recognition awards to them and other state and federal safety agencies and officials during a special recognition ceremony in Baton Rouge.
“The fine men and women and departments we are honoring helped save lives and spare countless citizens from the terrible consequences that often result from drunk driving,” said Lt. Col. John LeBlanc, executive director of the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission. “Drunk drivers are a major cause of traffic deaths and injuries in Louisiana and across the nation. They are a danger to themselves, their passengers and other motorists.”
According to the LHSC, alcohol was a factor in 43 percent of the 720 crash deaths in Louisiana in 2010. (Crash data for 2011 has not been finalized.)
Almost 40 individual officers and agencies were honored during Tuesday’s ceremony. The awards are designed to recognize leaders in DWI enforcement efforts and to raise awareness of the problem of drunk driving.
The Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Office was recognized for making the most DWI arrests (412) by a sheriff’s office covering a population over 200,000. Cpl. Porter was recognized as the deputy who made the most arrests (106) for a population over 200,000.
All officers in the agencies that were honored made a combined 10,444 DWI arrests last year. Those arrests were only a portion of the 20,000 DWI arrests made in Louisiana each year.
The Louisiana Highway Safety Commission works year round to support enforcement and education programs related to DWI and other problem driving behaviors. The awards program, started in 2008, was developed with the support and cooperation of the Louisiana State Police, Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries, Louisiana Sheriff’s Association, Louisiana Judicial Association, and the Louisiana District Attorney’s Association.