Greenwood Police have been praised by state safety officials for their work in keeping drunk drivers out of the road.
The Office of Road Safety and Justice Programs of the state’s Department of Public Safety holds an annual DUI law enforcement awards competition, where local law enforcement offices across the State are encouraged to submit a case showing the work they have done to combat DUI cases in their area.
“We’re not just looking at the number of DUI arrests you make,” said Greg Griggs, supervisor of SCDPS law enforcement support services. “The panel looks at four key areas: education, engineering, law enforcement and emergency services. When they asked for help, I told them I would take a closer look at education and law enforcement. “
Griggs said a panel of judges review applications from various agencies and judge their efforts. They choose the winning agencies from divisions broken down by department size.
The Greenwood Police Department won the Agency of the Year in the 26 to 50 Constable Division, while Police Sgt. Brandon White won Officer of the Year in the same division.
“We are very proud of all of our officers,” said Greenwood Police Chief TJ Chaudoin. “Part of our job is to make sure we keep our citizens safe, and this award is a sign that we are doing that.”
He said White was credited with 16 arrests for DUI in 2020 and was involved in alcohol education and drug prevention programs. Arrests aren’t everything, and Chaudoin said police started trying to prevent driving under the influence from a young age. They visit local schools to teach about the dangers of drunk driving and have partnered with Lander University for awareness campaigns.
“The worst thing I can remember as a rookie was working my first DUI fatality,” Chaudoin said. “We have places here in Greenwood with crosses on the road – places where people have died. These are incidents that affect people for the rest of their lives. “
Griggs said the rewards program aims to encourage law enforcement to engage with their communities and teach safe driving. Anyone considering drinking should think ahead and find a designated driver, or plan to have someone else drive rather than get behind the wheel while intoxicated, he said.
Contact writer Damian Dominguez at 864-634-7548 or follow on Twitter @IJDDOMINGUEZ.