MADD honors local police officers for service

Heather Nyberg-Schlotzhauer

Beacon Correspondent

Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the Avoid the 7 campaign and the California Office of Traffic Safety recently honored the many local officers who have worked for a year to crack down on local drunk driving. The law enforcement recognition and DUI training seminar was held at the Fortuna Riverlodge Conference Center.

The Seminar was hosted by the Avoid the 7 Campaign. MADD offers direct support services to victims and survivors of drunk or drugged driving crashes. Services are free to victims along with a trained advocate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 888-919-6233 or 877-623-3435.

Avoid the 7 campaigns are currently active in 42 of the state's 58 counties. The hope of the campaign is to not only make the streets safer, but to raise awareness to penalties associated with drinking and driving -- and to save lives -- by teaming up for mobilization projects including saturation patrols and road checkpoints.

The Humboldt County Sheriff's Office Explorers Honor Guard presented the colors at the ceremony. KIEM Channel 3 News anchor Kelly May was the mistress of ceremonies while the Traffic Safety Resource Prosecutors California District Attorney's Association provided special training. Leslie Witten-Rood, assistant director of the California Office of Traffic Safety, and Fortuna Police Chief William Dobberstein were the guest speakers at the event.

Silas Miers, MADD of California program manager, presented the MADD awards for service. Locally, Avoid the 7 officers from Arcata to Garberville were honored. Honorees also included law enforcement from Del Norte and Mendocino counties. All honorees were awarded with the MADD California 23152 Pin.

Local honorees included: Arcata Police Department Officers Eric Losey (12 DUI arrests) and Krystle Arminio (26 arrests); Humboldt County California Highway Patrol Officers Bob Marinez (30 arrests), Jeramie Bowen (30 arrests), Brian Solus (31 arrests), Joel Skeen (37 arrests), Timothy Yost (39 arrests), and Michael Hindley (42 arrests); Eureka Police Department Officers David Chapman (27 arrests) and Greg Hill (39 arrests); Ferndale Police Department Officers Lindsey Frank (4 arrests) and Adam Strickler (5 arrests). Fortuna Police Department Officers Gabe Charlton (16 arrests) and Maxwell Soeth (18 arrests); Rio Dell Police Department Officer Kevin Harraison (10 arrests); and CHP Garberville area Officers Mike Major (43 arrests) and Darron Drefke (leading the pack with 52 DUI arrests).

Other local honorees included Humboldt County Deputy District Attorney Elan Firpo, representing prosecutorial efforts by the DA's office targeting DUIs, and Fortuna Police Department Officer Charles Ellebrecht, for his role as Avoid the 7 program coordinator.

For more information on the Avoid the 7 program, contact your local law enforcement agency or Officer Charles Ellebrecht of the Fortuna Police Department at 725-7550.

photo caption:

Heather Nyberg-Schlotzhauer/Beacon

The recent Avoid the 7 Awards event brought out many officers. (From left) Silas Miers, program manager, Mothers Against Drunk Driving; Don Geraham, MADD victim impact panel; Fortuna Police Department Officers Max Soeth and Gabe Charlton; FPD Chief William Dobberstein; FPD Lt. Matthew Eberardt; and FPD Sgt. Charles Ellebrecht.