To parents their child is everything; so losing one in a drunk driving incident hits close to home.
“What makes it personal for me is that I have lost my own son to drunk driver, actually a drugged driver,” said Margaret Walker of the Governor’s Highway Safety Office. “And so with this mission it’s made my son’s life and his death have purpose.”
Margaret is part of a team that hosts the Annual Law Enforcement Appreciation Breakfast honoring officers who get impaired drivers off the road.
“It’s kind of a thankless job in law enforcement,” said Joey Koher, West Virginia’s Drug Recognition Expert State Coordinator. “Many people don’t feel that impaired driving is a victim crime and therefore not a problem, however we see that it is actually a victim crime every day with our DUI fatal crashes.”
In fact, the 29 officers in the room accounted for 723 DUI arrests in 2015 in West Virginia looking for drug and alcohol impairment and distracted driving from cell phone use.
“Being a law enforcement officer in West Virginia especially in this day and age,” Koher said. “We see impaired drivers every day all day.”
On this weekend of patriotism, state officials say it is important to recognize those individuals who never take a day off from keeping our communities safe.
“That is so important that they’re out there doing that and that their work is being recognized,” said West Virginia’s Secretary of State Natalie Tennant.
While those officers are doing their job on the streets, parents have a job to do too especially when tackling distracted driving in their children.
“We have to be the example,” Tennant said. “The adults have to be the example and put the phone down because if we’re putting the phone down while driving then teenagers will see that.”
Event organizers worked with mother’s against drunk driving to honor the officers and their families.