12/19/2013 5:21 PM
by Karen Franklin
BECKLEY - Law enforcement officers from around the region were honored Thursday for their efforts to save lives on the roadways.
Police officers, deputies and firemen from around the region gathered for the annual Southern Regional Highway Safety Program Awards Banquet in Beckley where they accepted plaques for success in areas including seat belt and distracted driving prevention.
Beckley Police Officer Frankie Shelton was named 2013's Officer of the Year for achieving high standards in DUI arrests and oocupant protection. His colleagues said he averaged one DUI arrest for every 3.92 hours on patrol.
"These officers really bought in to what we were trying to do, and we believe that overall effect in the end is what we want to do -- save lives on our roadways," Lt. Paul Blume, with the Southern Regional Highways Safety Office, told WOAY.
Newswatch also spoke with Oak Hill Police Chief Mike Whisman.
"It's good to recognize that they're out there doing good," he said about his squad. "They're making the streets more safe for the public -- for all the public -- to be out there traveling especially this time of year when there is so much travel activity on the road."
Authorities at the event said driving fatalities in the state have decreased, but deaths as a result of not wearing a seatbelt have not.