Law Enforcement Support

Berkeley, California Officer Aron Belveal talks about a fatal DUI collision he witnessed on his way home from his shift.  “We have to get these kind of people off the streets.”

In a few weeks, Officer Aron Belveal will retire from his career in law enforcement. But before he retires, Mothers Against Drunk Driving asked him to talk about the time he witnessed a fatal hit & run collision on the freeway while driving home after work.  Please access the video at the link below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dcBEMK1Cnfg&feature=youtu.be

Guest Author – Aug 2020

Saturation Saturday

Lieutenant Scott Roach

St. Louis County Police Department 

In August of 2017, the State of Missouri passed House Bill 4 which reduced annual state funding for DWI checkpoints from $20 million down to $1.00. Confusingly, one of the representatives who pushed this and helped make it happen is a former police officer from Missouri. His primary argument was checkpoints are a waste of money due to the low number of arrests that resulted from them. Statistics and other data disproved the argument.

What he did not consider and refuses to acknowledge is static checkpoints, no matter the results, are deterrents and send a clear message that police agencies still do DWI enforcement. We felt a strong deterrent was still warranted considering in 2015 more than a quarter of all traffic fatalities in our state were caused by an impaired driver.

In the early days of social media and travel apps on smart phones law enforcement agencies were frustrated when the location of checkpoints was revealed. After adapting to our ever-changing world we did not hide our location and per some department policies even make the locations public information. There is significant value in educating the public that what we do is a deterrent and we always encourage “having a plan” for how an anticipated impaired person intends on getting home safely.

Upon hearing the inevitable news that House Bill 4 had finally passed, I immediately did what law enforcement officers do every day….I adapted! I quickly called my best friend Meghan Carter who was, before her promotion, the State Executive Director for MADD Missouri, with an idea. Between the two of us we created Saturation Saturday!

In a matter of days we had a venue for our Rally Roll Call, got donated Grab-n-Go food, and found several volunteers ready to help. Then we started the uphill battle of trying to get 20+ local police agencies to agree upon a date to do it. Each agency was asked to dedicate as many officers as possible for paid overtime using grant funds provided by the Missouri Department of Transportation. (Have you ever heard the term ‘Like herding a bunch of cats’?) The date made sense which was the middle Saturday of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s annual ‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over’ campaign. We enjoyed all the enthusiasm generated by the annual mobilization and didn’t mind the ad campaigns reminding the public we are out there!

For our first Saturation Saturday in 2017, we only had our local St. Louis County and Kansas City, MO agencies participate. In 2018, Meghan found a way to make it a national event, and we had New York and Illinois join Missouri in our efforts.  In 2019, we increased our number of states to 18!  Year 2020 was set to break our record, but due to COVID, we are doing it ‘virtually’ hoping as many agencies as possible find a way to participate.

As a law enforcement officer of almost 25 years I appreciate the value in adapting to your surroundings no matter the situation. We always try to do what’s right no matter the circumstances. But I can assure you when a partner organization such as MADD and Meghan Carter gets involved, the interest by passionate traffic officers increases significantly!

See you at the next Saturation Saturday!

Editor’s note: this year’s nationwide MADD Saturation Saturday Campaign will be on August 29th.

Officer of the Month – Aug 2020

August Officer of the Month

Lieutenant Robert Netherland, III

Henrico County Police Department Henrico, Virginia

Lt. Robert Netherland, III has been with the Henrico County, Virginia Police since 1994.  Lt Netherland received the MADD law enforcement award several times back in the late 90’s. This was at the beginning of his career when it was not uncommon for him to average one DUI/DUID arrest per night while working evening and midnight shifts. The most he was able to arrest in one shift was three, knowing that each arrest takes up to about three hours.

It was as a member of the Henrico Police Crash Team that Lt. Netherland became deeply involved in impaired driving crash investigations. In time, Henrico County dedicated a prosecutor to those cases. They credit Lt. Netherland’s expertise in the fields of crash investigation and impaired driving to securing convictions.

Once on the Crash Team, most of the investigations dealt with making arrests after blood draws due to someone being involved in a crash. This led to Lt. Netherland becoming the “go to” officer for advice on search warrants and understanding the law. On many occasions, he has received a phone call in the middle of the night to just answer a question for an officer.

Lt. Netherland was assigned to the Virginia General Assembly for several years and wrote the “Drinking while Driving” law which is an extra charge on top of a DUI arrest if an open container is found in the vehicle.  He was also responsible for writing grants back in 1998 for the Crash Team. Those grants have now grown into to over $300,000 per year, some of which support checkpoints and saturation patrols.  Due to his extensive knowledge of the topic, Lt. Netherland has served as a trainer for the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services and has presented at numerous conferences; most recently at the 2018 Virginia Highway Safety Summit and the Mid-Atlantic DUI Conference.

Almost as importantly as his career highlights, we recognize Lt. Netherland for his connection to and support of MADD Virginia. His sister Denise was killed by a drunk driver in 1980 after which his mom Shirley served as the President of MADD in Central Virginia for 6 years. His father was a beloved Virginia State Trooper.

Lt. Netherland is absolutely dedicated and unwavering in his support of MADD Virginia. He has led and/or participated in his department’s raising of many thousands of dollars through their participation in the Richmond area MADD Walk each year. This year the Henrico Police held a Brunswick stew sale which raised over $6,000 toward the Walk.

Lt. Netherland and his officers also encourage and embrace the participation of MADD volunteers in checkpoints. He invites them to share their victim stories at the briefings. There is a dedicated group of victim volunteers who participate in checkpoints, all of whom adore Lt. Netherland and his officers.

Lt. Netherland and his department also participate in the MADD Candlelight Vigil which is held in Henrico each year. In 2019 there was bad weather and the event was forced to be held indoors which resulted in reduced participation by even victims. Demonstrating their continued support, there ended up being more Henrico Police officers in attendance than victims and family members.

MADD National is proud to recognize Lt. Robert Netherland, III as the August 2020 Officer of the Month.  We thank him for his many years of dedicated service to the citizens of Henrico County, the State of Virginia and MADD.  Thank you to MADD Virginia’s Cristi Cousins for her nomination of Lt. Netherland for this recognition.

MADD extends our deepest condolences to the agencies and families who have lost officers and loved ones in the line of duty

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Cayce Police Department (SC)

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Ohio County Sheriff’s Office (KY)

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For a complete listing of Officers lost in the line of duty, please visit: www.odmp.org

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