The fifth annual Herkimer County STOP-DWI Law Enforcement Recognition Breakfast took place at Herkimer County Community College Tuesday.
STOP-DWI Coordinator Michael Edwards said the program is a way to recognize law enforcement efforts to reduce and stop drinking and driving accidents.
“Through the program STOP-DWI is promoted by a public information campaign with efforts in the media and in schools to keep everyone aware of the dangers of drinking and driving,” said Edwards. “It can take time for the public to grip major laws, but people need to understand that driving while intoxicated is not acceptable.”
The recognition breakfast also served as an opportunity for many to give thanks to local law enforcement for their quick response during the events that took place in the villages of Herkimer and Mohawk on March 13.
“We’re here to show recognition to all the brave men and women of local law enforcement whose dedicated roles were nothing short of exemplarily during the recent tragedy to our area,” said Vincent Bono, chairman of the Herkimer County Legislature. “With everything that occurred during that devastating time I have a new affection for law enforcement that goes above and beyond the call of duty and I am proud you live here and serve our community.”
“We here in Herkimer County have a special appreciation for law enforcement and what they face to keep us safe. What happened to our community on March 13 is the sign of the times. There is no community immune to violence and in particular gun violence, but it was law enforcement who stepped up and worked quickly to keep our community safe,” said state Senator James Seward, R – Oneonta.
In recognition of STOP-DWI Seward said he has seen far too many lives lost due to a drunk driver. “We have made laws tougher, but the laws won’t do anything if they are not properly enforced,” he said. “These laws have to be enforced on all streets and highways across the state and that is where law enforcement comes in with their efforts on a day to night basis making a difference to make New York safe and create a safer community.”
During the breakfast, several individuals were given awards for their achievements to STOP-DWI.
Former Ilion Police Officer Ryan Parks was honored with the Outstanding DWI Enforcement Officer Memorial Award. Parks was riding his motorcycle off duty and was struck and killed by a vehicle operated by an intoxicated driver on July 10, 2004.
The STOP-DWI Community Service Award was given to Little Falls health teacher Tony Scaparo. “I and the kids get a lot out of the STOP-DWI program and I really try to get them involved because everyone has a family member, friend or neighbor who knows the negative impact of a DWI,” he said. “The program allows for a lot of fun and excitement in the students’ education and they are learning in a way that makes things more interesting and that makes an impact that stays with them.”
Page 2 of 2 - Several DWI enforcement recognition awards were also given to recognize the STOP-DWI dedication of an officer from each agency in Herkimer County.