The Times West Virginian

March 22, 2014

Law-enforcement efforts are recognized

Program shows appreciation for officers who excel in making DUI arrests

By Richard Babich
Times West Virginian

BRIDGEPORT — The Governors Highway Safety Program hosted an annual awards ceremony Friday for the High Technology Corridor region.

The Marion County Sheriff’s Department and Fairmont Police Department were recognized during the ceremony.

“This program is to show appreciation to officers who excel in DUI arrests,” regional program director Georgia Hatfield said.

The program featured individual and department awards.

Marion County deputy Jimmy Bledsoe was recognized for having the most DUI arrests during 2013 in the region. Bledsoe had 144 DUI arrests, which was the second most in the state.

He said his wife and children help motivate him to keep the roads safe.

“The innocent bystanders are the ones who pay the consequences and suffer because of a drunk driver,” Bledsoe said. “The more enforcement out there is the more of a difference that we can make.”

Marion County chief deputy Ralph Wright and deputies Donnie Wheeler and Brian Speakman were recognized for “Good Performance” in DUI arrests for the 2013 year.

The Marion County Sheriff’s Department was recognized for having the second most DUI arrests in the region.

“As a department, I give all the credit to the guys under me,” Wright said. “Without our guys out there patrolling the streets, there would be many senseless crimes, not just DUIs.”

 The Fairmont Police Department was recognized as well.

All those in attendance were recognized by the Mothers Against Drunk Driving organization. Victim services specialist Margie Sadler handed out MADD certificates to the deputies and officers in attendance.

“You are saving a life every time you arrest a drunk driver,” Sadler said. “You are extremely appreciated.”

Sadler was hit by a drunk driver the night she graduated  from high school.

There were 21 officers and deputies and 16 law-enforcement agencies recognized during the ceremony.

The Governors Highway Safety Program promotes a variety of programs to help increase safety across the state.

Email Richard Babich at rbabich@timeswv.com or follow him on Twitter @rbabichTWV.