Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office achieved the Outstanding Department Award from MADD Tennessee for increasing awareness to prevent drunk driving and arresting impaired drunk drivers.
The award was presented during MADD’s annual Tennessee Night of Remembrance honoring law enforcement officers statewide who enforce DUI laws and potentially saved 6,663 lives last year by DUI arrests.
Sheriff Mike Fitzhugh commended the deputies.
“The efforts of the deputies to take intoxicated and impaired drivers off the roads makes the county safer for everyone,” Fitzhugh said. “We remind drivers who plan to drink alcohol to get a designated driver, use a ride share or plan on another way to get home.”
Sheriff’s Patrol Cpl. William Travis earned the 2020 Statewide Top DUI Enforcer Award for 144 impaired driving arrests and the MADD Gold Enforcement Award for removing 144 impaired drivers from Tennessee roadways in 2019.
Travis joined Patrol Cpl. April Haggard, Cpl. James Bailey and Deputies Austin Watson, Deputy Cody Didier, Zachary Campbell and Mina Awad in receiving the Bronze Award for removing 25 or more impaired drivers from the roadways in 2019 or 2020.
MADD’s Outstanding Department Award was based on the Sheriff’s Office’s effort by:
- Conducting annual sobriety checkpoints in memory of Boy Scout Clifton Braunwalder. The 13-year-old boy was changing a tire on his family vehicle when struck by an impaired driver in 2014 on Interstate 24.
- Initiating DUI awareness checkpoints. Sgt. Michael Rodgers created the checkpoint during COVID where patrol cars were parked at checkpoints. Drivers viewed the illusion of a checkpoint and the deterrent effects while deputies monitored drivers but did not interact because of COVID.
- Adding specialized training for deputies to become drug recognition experts, drug recognition instructors and standard field sobriety training instructors.
- Obtaining grants to receive funding for DUI enforcement.