SACRAMENTO, Calif. – In an effort to provide the highest level of Safety, Service, and Security to the public, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) has developed and implemented a number of education and enforcement programs over the years aimed at saving lives. Recently, the CHP was recognized for these lifesaving efforts by the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) during the IACP’s annual conference in Chicago.
The IACP’s National Law Enforcement Challenge (NLEC) is a well-established competition among law enforcement agencies, focused on specific aspects of traffic safety. For the second year in a row, the CHP’s overall traffic safety efforts earned the Department first place in the NLEC category of State Police/Highway Patrol of 1,501 or More Sworn Officers. The CHP also won two Special Award categories in the 2015 NLEC, one for their overall effort in promoting Bicycle/Pedestrian Safety and the other for its efforts addressing the issue of impaired driving.
“Receiving these awards highlights the outstanding work of CHP personnel throughout the state,” CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow said. “We are immensely proud to be recognized by the IACP in so many categories, but the true reward can be measured by the lives saved every year.”
The award for the impaired driving program recognized the CHP’s progress in its efforts to reduce the number of deaths and injuries related to driving under the influence. In 2013, through training, public education, and enforcement efforts, the number of fatal and injury traffic collisions caused by impaired drivers decreased by 1.69 percent compared to the previous three-year average.
Pedestrian deaths represent about 21 percent of all fatal traffic collision victims, and bicyclists represent approximately 4.3 percent of all fatal traffic collision victims in California. The CHP’s award submission for pedestrian/bicyclist safety focused on the high level of public information and education to combat this problem. The CHP will continue to analyze collision trends and other relevant data to refine strategies to protect pedestrians and bicyclists, the most vulnerable users of our state’s roadways.
The CHP’s volunteer programs, which include the Senior Volunteer Program (SVP) and Explorer Program, won the Outstanding Achievement in Law Enforcement Volunteer Programs Award, considered the most prestigious award a volunteer program in law enforcement can receive. Together, the two programs have more than 1,150 volunteers, ages 15 to 101, in more than 1,000 communities throughout California. The SVP began in 1989 and includes volunteers age 55 and older. The Explorer Program started in 1990 for youths age 15-21 and educates them about careers in law enforcement as well as providing opportunities for community service.
The 2015 Vehicle Theft Award of Merit in the Multi-agency/Task Force Category went to the Orange County Auto Theft Task Force (OCATT). The CHP’s Border Division Investigative Service Unit is part of OCATT. In 2014, OCATT recovered 209 vehicles, valued at more than $3.2 million, and made more than 65 arrests. Thanks to OCATT’s efforts, in 2014 Orange County saw its largest drop in vehicle thefts in more than four years – a 13 percent reduction. The positive results of the investigations spanned the entire Southern California region.
Finally, CHP Officer Michael Burton was one of four finalists for the IACP/Target Police Officer of the Year. He was recognized for risking his own life while off duty to rescue a man from a burning pickup truck in Kern County in July 2014. Officer Burton received a Medal of Valor from Governor Edmund G Brown Jr. earlier this year for his heroic act.
The IACP is the world’s largest association of law enforcement executives. With more than 25,000 members in over 121 countries, the IACP serves as the professional voice of law enforcement.