BY KEN LITTLE
Two Tennessee Highway Patrol troopers based in Fall Branch were recently recognized for their service by the Governor's Highway Safety Office: Sgt. Chris Moore and Trooper Vince Mullins.
Moore was named a 2013 East Tennessee Officer of the Year by the Northeast Tennessee Traffic Safety Network (NETTS) and Traffic Enforcement Safety Management (TEAM) Network.
Mullins received a NETTS award as a 2013 East Tennessee DUI Officer of the Year. The award was presented in conjunction with the organization
Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).
Steve Dillard, the East Tennessee Law Enforcement Liaison for the Governor's Highway Safety Office, presented the awards to Moore, Mullins and other law enforcement officers in the region last month.
"I am proud of their accomplishments," Dillard said.
Moore was nominated as a 2013 East Tennessee Officer of the Year by THP Fall Branch District 5.
Moore is currently stationed in Greene County, where he serves as road sergeant. He previously served two years as the midnight shift sergeant in the Fall Branch District.
"In an effort to increase enforcement activity across our district, an initiative entitled 'Enforcement Development' was implemented," according to his nomination.
"Sgt. Moore took this opportunity to embrace a new approach with troopers throughout the 13-county Fall Branch District to increase DUI enforcement," the nomination said.
As Moore began the initiative last April, "several of the troopers who were being rotated into the midnight schedule had been struggling with DUI enforcement," the nomination said.
"Sgt. Moore used this new tactic to focus on impaired drivers by working specific areas throughout the district with personnel who were lacking in the area of DUI enforcement," it continued.
Moore traveled to counties in the district as he worked to improve DUI enforcement "and encourage a more proactive approach to enforcing our impaired driving laws among personnel who had not been successful in this area," the nomination said.
At the end of March 2013, DUI arrests were down 30.4 percent from the previous year, and 31 percent of THP road personnel "had not removed an impaired driver from our roadways."
Through Moore's work, there was an immediate improvement.
By the end of May 2013, DUI arrests had improved from a decrease of 30.4 percent at the end of March to a decrease of 18.5 percent, and only 11 percent of road personnel had not made a DUI arrest, the award nomination said.
By the end of July 2013, DUI arrests in District 5 were down 12 percent from the previous year, and only 3 percent of road personnel had not made a DUI arrest.
"This is a vast improvement from the enforcement activity we were experiencing earlier in the year," Moore's nomination said.
In July 2013, "more impaired drivers were removed from our roads compared to the previous months for the year," the nomination said.
"Although Sgt. Moore is not responsible for this increase in DUI enforcement entirely, his willingness to positively address this situation has made a valuable contribution to the overall improvement in the district," the nomination said.
"Sgt. Moore has assisted several troopers in improving their ability to recognize and remove impaired drivers from our roads.
"This has served to dramatically increase DUI enforcement and has undoubtedly saved lives," the nomination said.
Mullins was nominated by THP Capt. Stephen M. Street.
Mullins is assigned to the Greene County Scale Complex located on Interstate 81 at the 23-mile marker. His job duties at the scale complex focus on commercial vehicle enforcement.
Responsibilities emphasize vehicle equipment violations, overweight vehicles, vehicles with mechanical defects and violations relating to the drivers of these commercial vehicles in reference to their hours of service.
"Trooper Mullins has done an outstanding job of enforcing these safety violations at the Scale Complex, where he leads in hazardous moving violations by over 240 citations, and in non-moving violations, where he leads other scale personnel by over 200 citations," Street wrote in his nomination.
Street wrote that, while Mullins "consistently displays his knowledge of commercial vehicle enforcement at the Greene County Scale Complex through his exceptional activity, he also excels in enforcing our state's DUI laws."
DUI ARREST LEADER
While Mullins' primary assignment is at the scale complex, where he concentrates on commercial motor vehicles, he also led the Fall Branch THP District with 58 DUI arrests between Jan. 1 through Sept. 30, 2013.
"What makes this so impressive is his commitment to this enforcement endeavor, although he is not assigned to regular road duties like the majority of troopers in the district," Street wrote.
Mullins, a 19-year veteran, also takes the time to share his expertise in DUI enforcement with other troopers.
"Throughout the year, Trooper Mullins has assisted other troopers who have not experienced the same success he has seen in DUI enforcement.
"(He) has spent several hours working with other troopers to improve their DUI enforcement efforts," Street wrote.
"It is quite apparent that Trooper Mullins does an outstanding job in seeking out and removing intoxicated drivers from our highways.
"The citizens of Tennessee have reaped the benefits of a public servant who has been so dedicated to promoting safety on our roads by leading the district in DUI enforcement while still doing an outstanding job in his responsibilities at the scale complex with commercial vehicle enforcement," Street wrote.