A Marion officer and a Smyth County deputy got MADD respect from the Virginia Chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving during its annual ceremony Sept. 30.
Held virtually this year, Marion PD’s Officer Jeff Davis and Smyth County Sheriff’s Office’s Sgt. Landon Smith and K9 Luna were honored for the work they’ve done to decrease the number of people driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
“Although we are celebrating virtually this year, the work these men and women do every day should be recognized and honored,” said Meghan Carter, MADD Virginia Director of Field Operations. “Drunk driving is still a problem, even during this pandemic, and the work to end drunk driving is as important as ever.”
Davis, who coordinates the DMV Alcohol Safety Program grant funded the DMV, was nominated for the award by Marion PD’s DUI coordinator, Jeff Horn. The grant funds overtime pay and equipment such as breathalyzer tests and intoximeters to aid in DUI detection.
“He does all that extra paper work and all the extra stuff it takes to get that program, then almost single-handedly works the majority of (overtime) hours,” Horn said of Davis. “He’s just been real dedicated to the program and how it functions and tries to make sure we’re within the grant requirements.”
Sheriff Chip Shuler nominated Smith for the honor. In the nomination application, Shuler wrote that Smith is progressive with traffic enforcement and, in addition to his own arrests, Smith and his K9 partner Luna consistently assisted other deputies, local police officers and state police with DUI checkpoints.
“I am certain that our highways/roadways are much safer due to the efforts of Sergeant Smith and K9 Luna,” Shuler wrote.
Both Shuler and Marion PD Chief John Clair expressed appreciation for the awarding organization.
“I think it’s good that MADD does it each year,” Shuler said. “It’s led by people who have usually lost somebody, generally mothers who lost children, as a result of a drunk driver, so it’s a big deal for them to recognize us.”
Pointing out that about 30% of all traffic fatalities in Virginia re alcohol-related, Clair said systematic and consistent enforcement of DUI laws save lives.
“I’m glad that MADD exists and I’m glad that all the agencies that participate do everything they can to reduce DUI-related deaths and injuries. “
A nonprofit organization working to fight drunk driving, drugged driving and underage drinking, MADD was founded in 1980 by a mother whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver. The Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving calls for law enforcement support, ignition interlocks for all offenders and advanced vehicle technology. The organization has also provided supported services to nearly one million drunk and drugged driving victims and survivors.
More information on MADD Virginia, including how to get involved, can be found online at www.madd.org/virginia.
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