The South Georgia Chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving and state safety officials offered thanks Saturday to law enforcement personnel in the fight against intoxicated driving.
The sixth annual MADD Recognition Banquet was held at the Colquitt County Agricultural Building in Moultrie, and awards were presented to officers and organizations from throughout the southern part of the state.
Sgt. Russ Covington of the Georgia State Patrol was recognized as officer of the year. MADD South Georgia Director Gary Robinson said Covington has assisted the chapter since its inception.
The Speaker of the Year award went to Dakota Baker of Norman Park. Baker, 14, lost her brother to a drunk driver in September 2010 and more recently became active in MADD in response to that tragedy. Last year, she became one of nine members of a MADD national youth panel focused on reducing teens’ use of alcohol.
Officers were recognized for multiple DUI arrests made in 2013. The largest number of such arrests was by Trooper 1st Class John Brinson of the Georgia State Patrol with 72. Brinson is based at Thomasville’s Post 12, which patrols Colquitt, Grady, Mitchell and Thomas counties.
The top eight DUI arresters were GSP troopers. Brinson and three of his Post 12 colleagues held four of the top five spots. The top ten were: Brinson (72); Trooper 1st Class Meed Kelly, GSP Thomasville (69); Trooper 1st Class C.P. Miller, GSP Tifton (68); Trooper 1st Class Stewart Parker, GSP Thomasville (67); Trooper 1st Class Chris Hosey, GSP Thomasville (65); Trooper 1st Class R. Harding, GSP Tifton (62); Chris Kelch, GSP Lowndes County (51); Jeremy Swain, GSP Lowndes County (49); Woodrow Burkhalter, Douglas Police Department (45); and Trooper First Class 2 John Sellers, GSP Houston County (35).
Other officers from Tift County who were recognized included Chris Spires and Rick Dorden, Tift County Sheriff's Office; Sgt. J.C. Roberts, B.P. Taylor, D. Sellars and Trooper First Class M. Spells, GSP Tifton; and Cpl. Alan Rowe, Lt. Michael Welch, Cpl. Mark Wynn and Cpl. Richard Davis, Ashburn Police Department.