Local officers were recognized recently by Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
Officers from Meriden, Wallingford, Southington and Cheshire all received awards at a Tuesday ceremony at the Aqua Turf Club in Southington.
Meriden Officers Jimmy Fong and Patrick Ouellette, Wallingford Officer Christian Evans, Cheshire Officers Matthew Severo and Adam Burwin, and Southington Officers Chad Michaud and Justin Simard all received the MADD award. According to the organization’s website, the award “honors those that keep us safe on the road everyday.”
Evans has received the award for the past 15 years.
“The most important thing is making sure these people are caught and are educated so they have an understanding of how dangerous it is,” Evans said about drivers operating under the influence.
This is the third year that Simard and Michaud have received the award, Lt. Stephen Elliott said. Simard said since the beginning of the year he has already seen and responded to a number of DUI accidents, with most involving drugs.
This was the first time Ouellette received the award.
“If you are a college or university student, or will soon be one, a DUI conviction can jeopardize your ability to get or keep a scholarship,” Ouellette said. “Some institutions of higher education have a zero tolerance policy in regard to a DUI and the award of a scholarship. This is particularly the case if a person has been convicted of more than one DUI.”
This is also Burwin’s third time receiving the award. He also noted the increase of drug-related DUI arrests.
“I believe that most impaired drivers don't realize how little amount of alcohol it takes to actually impair their skills at driving a motor vehicle,” Burwin said. “Many of my DUI arrests didn't think that they were ‘that drunk.’ They generally feel that they are ‘good enough’ to drive.”
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