Austin Police Department Recognized for Enforcement

December 05, 2017 07:15 PM

(ABC 6 NEWS)- A prestigious award Tuesday for one local police department.

It comes following a crack-down on motorists who were driving while impaired … and that doesn't mean what it once did.


"To me it just shows the effort and the dedication that they have to keep our community safe" Austin Police Chief Brian Krueger said, accepting the award for his department.

It was a campaign called “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over".

"This is a long-term commitment to keeping  the citizens of Austin and Mower County safe" said Scott McConkey of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety’s Office of Traffic Safety.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has recognized the Austin Police Department for its impaired driving enforcement efforts. But more and more, "impairment" means something other than alcohol.

"This last year was the first time impaired driving due to drugs overtook alcohol" Scott McConkey told ABC6.

"So it's something that we as a department  look for  and train for" Austin Police Chief brian Krueger added.

And that's become a focus for officers involved in the Toward Zero Deaths saturation campaigns.

"Officers working these TZD shifts are required to take this on-line training” Scott McConkey explained. “It's all about the drug-impaired driver. And a lot of it is just having that mindset that, okay, I don't smell alcohol, it doesn't mean it's not impairment, I just have to take it to the next level."

And few officers do it better than Austin Police Sergeant Jeff McCormack, who received a hockey stick as an award for scoring another “hat trick”.

“So this means they initiated, located and arrested, removed three impaired drivers in one shift” Scott McConkey explained.

It’s Sergeant Jeff McCormack's third hat trick since the program began in 2012.  And it's helping push law enforcement closer to that goal of zero deaths.


Dan Conradt

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