The Colorado Department of Transportation and Mothers Against Drunk Driving have announced the winners of the 2020 Law Enforcement Champion Awards for Colorado. These awards focus on efforts to reduce impaired driving, increase the use of seat belts and reduce speeding in the state.

A law enforcement champion is an individual with outstanding contributions in the prevention and enforcement of impaired driving, traffic safety, or occupant protection. This can be demonstrated by efforts such as DUI patrols or safety belt campaigns during the established enforcement periods throughout the year. It can also be demonstrated by advanced training, drug recognition expert activity, high visibility enforcement tactics, community engagement, prevention programs, and other related activities.

“We are grateful to the brave men and women in law enforcement who keep our roads and communities safe, even during ever-changing circumstances like a global pandemic and unprecedented wildfires,” said CDOT Executive Director Shoshana Lew. “At CDOT, we are committed to taking a holistic approach to the safety of our system — and part of that is recognizing the service of public safety officials, as well as our responsibility to do whatever we can to keep them safe on the job.”

Unfortunately, this is a challenging time on Colorado roads. While traffic is down due to COVID-19 precautions, fatalities from suspected drunk and drugged driving are actually up 15% through August 31 according to CDOT Fatal Crash Data. In addition to recognizing the achievements of award winners, MADD and CDOT sought to highlight the importance of DUI enforcement and encourage Colorado drivers to do their part by always planning ahead for a safe ride home.  

“So many people will never know the debt that they owe to our law enforcement heroes. Every time they stop a drunk or drugged driver, they potentially save a life,” said MADD Colorado State Executive Director Fran Lanzer. “We’re fortunate to have so many dedicated men and women protecting our communities.”

The Law Enforcement Champion award winners are:

·         Col. Mark V. Trostel Law Enforcement Officer Of The Year Award: Major Steve Garcia, Colorado State Patrol

·         Sgt. David Baldwin Award: Sergeant Roger Meyers, Colorado State Patrol Troop 1A

·         Dr. Robert E. Weltzer Outstanding Dedication to Traffic Safety: Laura Sonderup, Heinrich Marketing

·         MADD Hero Award: Accident Investigator Joseph Dougherty, Westminster Police Department

·         MADD Hero Award: Deputy TJ Kyle, Douglas County Sheriff’s Office

·         Drug Recognition Expert of the Year–Front Range: Sergeant Jason Sparks, Colorado State Patrol Troop 3C

·         Drug Recognition Expert of the Year–Rural: Sergeant Jennifer Plutt, Park County Sheriff’s Office

·         DRE Instructor of the Year: Corporal Nicholas Hazlett, Colorado State Patrol Troop 2B/E

·         Excellence in Leadership Award: Chief of Police Greg Daly, Avon Police Department

·         Outstanding Dedication to Investigating Impaired Driving Crashes: District 1 Vehicular Crimes Team, Colorado State Patrol Troop 1A/E

·         Outstanding Dedication to Investigating Impaired Driving Crashes: Officer Brooke Mourey, Aurora Police Department

·         Outstanding Dedication to Speed Enforcement: Police Officer Marvin Forbes, Colorado Springs Police Department

·         Outstanding Dedication to Underage Drinking Prevention And Enforcement: Officer Bernard Henry, Denver Police Department

·         Outstanding Individual Dedication to Impaired Driving Enforcement–Front Range, Colorado State Patrol: Trooper Clinton Doren, Colorado State Patrol Troop 2B

·         Outstanding Individual Dedication to Impaired Driving Enforcement–Front Range, Local Law Enforcement: Officer Justin Smith, Castle Rock Police Department

·         Outstanding Individual Dedication to Impaired Driving Enforcement–Mountain, Colorado State Patrol: Trooper Douglas Bell, Colorado State Patrol Troop 4B

·         Outstanding Individual Dedication to Impaired Driving Enforcement–Mountain, Local Law Enforcement: Patrol Deputy Danny Gogolen, Summit County Sheriff’s Office

·         Outstanding Individual Dedication to Impaired Driving Enforcement–Rural, Colorado State Patrol: Trooper Scott Pointon, Colorado State Patrol Troop 2C

·         Outstanding Individual Dedication to Impaired Driving Enforcement–Western Slope, Colorado State Patrol: Trooper Ben Carnes, Colorado State Patrol Troop 4A

·         Outstanding Individual Dedication to Impaired Driving Enforcement–Western Slope, Local Law Enforcement: Corporal Kevin Hoy, Durango Police Department

·         Outstanding Team Dedication to Impaired Driving Enforcement–Front Range, Colorado State Patrol: Troop 2B/2E, Colorado State Patrol

·         Outstanding Team Dedication to Impaired Driving Enforcement–Front Range, Local Law Enforcement: Traffic Enforcement Unit, El Paso County Sheriff’s Office

·         Outstanding Team Dedication to Impaired Driving Enforcement–Mountain, Colorado State Patrol: Sergeant Tafoya’s Team, Colorado State Patrol Troop 2A

·         Outstanding Team Dedication to Impaired Driving Enforcement–Mountain, Local Law Enforcement: Officer Tyler Kupser, Officer Johnathan Stensvad, Officer Jeff Malchow and Sergeant Matthew Murdoch, Fraser Winter Park Police Department

·         Outstanding Team Dedication to Impaired Driving Enforcement–Rural, Local Law Enforcement: Officer Antonio Pici, Platteville Police Department

·         Outstanding Team Dedication to Impaired Driving Enforcement–Western Slope, Colorado State Patrol: Troop 4C, Colorado State Patrol

·         Outstanding Individual Dedication to Occupant Protection–Front Range, Colorado State Patrol: Trooper Sean Yoshimiya, Colorado State Patrol 1B

·         Outstanding Individual Dedication to Occupant Protection–Front Range, Local Law Enforcement: Officer Jennifer Hines, Loveland Police Department

·         Outstanding Individual Dedication to Occupant Protection–Mountain, Colorado State Patrol: Corporal Jason Shimp, Colorado State Patrol Troop 4B

·         Outstanding Individual Dedication to Occupant Protection–Rural, Colorado State Patrol: Trooper Brent Crampton, Colorado State Patrol Troop 2C

·         Outstanding Individual Dedication to Occupant Protection–Rural, Local Law Enforcement: Officer Kyle Cooksey, Dacono Police Department

·         Outstanding Individual Dedication to Occupant Protection–Western Slope, Colorado State Patrol: Trooper Roger Lowry, Colorado State Patrol Troop 5C

·         Outstanding Team Dedication to Occupant Protection–Front Range, Local Law Enforcement: Motorcycle Enforcement Team, Aurora Police Department

·         Outstanding Team Dedication to Occupant Protection–Western Slope, Colorado State Patrol: Troop 4C, Colorado State Patrol

·         Outstanding Prosecutor: Deputy District Attorney Kellie Eastin, First Judicial District Attorney’s Office

·         Outstanding Victim Advocate: Victim Witness Specialist Lynne Gallion, 18th Judicial District Attorney’s Office

Due to COVID-19 restrictions on events, MADD Colorado and CDOT chose to announce the awards during a virtual event on September 30. The full ceremony can be viewed online here. Event sponsors included presenting sponsor Bachus & Schanker with additional support from Walmart Neighborhood Market, the Association of Colorado State Patrol Professionals, Safeway, OfficeFeeder, Evans Case Attorneys at Law, Ross Investigators PC, and Personicare Healthcare Network.

“We’re proud to be the presenting sponsor for these outstanding law enforcement awards and we congratulate the award winners and nominees,” said Kyle Bachus, founding partner of Bachus & Schanker. “As a personal injury law firm, we far too often see the devastating injuries and trauma to victims and their families as a result of drunk and drugged driving crashes. Our sponsorship is our commitment to join with MADD Colorado, CDOT, and law enforcement across the state to make our communities safer.”

The CDOT Highway Safety Office provides funding to Colorado law enforcement for impaired driving and seat belt enforcement, education and awareness campaigns. The Heat Is On campaign runs throughout the year with 16 specific high visibility impaired driving enforcement periods centered on national holidays and large public events. Enforcement periods can include sobriety checkpoints, saturation patrols and additional law enforcement on duty dedicated to impaired driving enforcement. More details about impaired driving enforcement plans, arrest totals and safety tips can be found at HeatIsOnColorado.com.

In 2017, seat belts saved an estimated 226 lives in Colorado. An additional 70 lives could have been saved if everyone in Colorado buckled up. The current seat belt use rate is 86%. There are three high visibility CIOT enforcement periods that take place each year in Colorado. For more information about seat belt safety and enforcement citation numbers, visit SeatBeltsColorado.com.

Whole System. Whole Safety

To heighten safety awareness, CDOT recently announced its Whole System Whole Safety initiative. This project takes a systematic statewide approach to safety combining the benefits of CDOT’s programs that address driving behaviors, our built environment and the organization’s operations. The goal is to improve the safety of Colorado’s transportation network by reducing the rate and severity of crashes and improving safety conditions for those traveling by all transportation modes. The program has one simple mission – to get everyone home safely.