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INDIANAPOLIS —Indiana Governor Eric J. Holcomb and the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute (ICJI) are recognizing 83 police officers for their efforts in saving lives while putting a stop to impaired driving.

On Tuesday, Governor Holcomb and ICJI Executive Director Devon McDonald presented the officers with the Traffic Safety All Star Award. To qualify for the award, an officer must have displayed outstanding performance in impaired driving enforcement. This could include a significant number of arrests or leadership to promote impaired driving prevention.

The all-stars, who were nominated by their departments, were recognized during a ceremony held at Victory Field in Indianapolis.

"I am deeply grateful to the officers who work tirelessly to keep our roads and communities safe,” said Governor Holcomb. “Their commitment to curbing impaired driving is admirable, and their efforts have saved countless lives. I congratulate them on their well-deserved, hard-earned achievement."

Now in its fourth year, the Traffic Safety All-Star awards program was created by ICJI as a way to recognize police officers who are going and beyond in the fight against impaired driving.

"The brave men and women who patrol our roads are the first line of defense against drunk and drug-impaired driving,” said Devon McDonald, ICI Executive Director. “Every time they make a stop, they potentially save a life. Our roads and communities are safer, and people are alive today, thanks to their dedicated service. We owe them a debt of gratitude."

Each officer demonstrated this by, not only working to educate motorists about the importance of safe driving, but also working overtime to enforce Indiana’s traffic laws. This often meant conducting extra high visibility patrols or sobriety checkpoints during peak travel periods and holidays associated with drinking.

In total, the officers who were recognized made more than 3,500 operating while intoxicated arrests last year. Despite their efforts, still, approximately 1 out of 5 fatal crashes in Indiana involves a drunk driver.

"These all-stars are stepping up to the plate to make our roads safer. Their goal is to prevent crashes and save lives, and their work is needed now more than ever,” said Jim Bryan, ICJI Traffic Safety Director. “These individuals and organizations are working tirelessly to educate the public about the dangers of impaired driving, to enforce the law, and to provide support to those affected by impaired driving. They are all-stars in the truest sense of the word, and we are grateful for their dedication."

As part of the program, ICJI also sought to highlight the importance of high-visibility enforcement, as well as encourage drivers to do their part by always planning ahead for a safe ride home.

Impaired driving remains one of the deadliest, yet preventable, dangers on the road today. Even if only one drink is consumed, designate a sober driver or use public transportation or a ride service. Never drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol or let friends get behind the wheel if they’re impaired.

Note to the media: The photos from the ceremony were taken at Victory Field in Indianapolis and can be downloaded here. In each photo, the recipient is in the middle with Governor Eric Holcomb on the right and ICJI Executive Director Devon McDonald on the left.

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