Law Enforcement Support

Mission Moment – November 2021

Hector Martinez

An Empty Chair at the Table During the Holidays

Rebecca Grimes

It was November 20, 1982, the Saturday before Thanksgiving. That day is not very clear to me, but one thing that I will never forget, arriving home from a day of shopping and seeing my grandmother, who lived across from us, pull my dad away to say something to him. You see my 18-year-old brother, Hector Martinez, and one of our friends who lived just a house away from us, had taken off earlier in the day to enjoy a motorcycle ride. Little did they know that would be their LAST RIDE.

In an article published the following day, it stated a car and a motorcycle collided on U.S. Business 83 and Glascock Road in the center lane leaving one dead and one in critical condition. The crash occurred around 6pm and apparently the driver of the car didn’t have his headlights on. My brother was taken to closest hospital and was then transferred to another hospital due to the extensive trauma he endured during the crash. It was there, at McAllen Methodist Hospital, where he remained in critical condition. The next five days were the worst days of our lives.

What struck me the most about that article, something that I will never forget, is that ironically the driver of the car, who was also 18, was a friend of both my brother and his friend. The driver was charged with driving while intoxicated.

So why am I sharing this with you? Because it happened the Saturday before Thanksgiving Day. The holidays are approaching, and this time of the year is always the hardest for me even though it’s been a long time ago. The holiday season is a time when we are celebrating with family and friends, but that was not the case for our family. That year, Thanksgiving Day was so much different for us. Instead of us giving thanks, we were mourning the death of my brother. After being in a coma for five days, my brother was removed off life support on Thanksgiving Day 1982. A decision both my parents had to make when the doctors told them there was not much they could do for Hector and they did not know how long he would be in a coma.

Christmas that year was even worse for us as we were used to having our grandma spoil us rotten, but now things were different. Her 2nd grandson born into the Martinez family was gone and to be honest he was her favorite. Birthdays, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day that followed were just as hard for all of us. Our lives changed forever.

Every day we think about him, and we wonder who he’d be today. It will be 39 years this year that my brother was taken from us, but we still feel that one empty chair at the table during the holidays. We wonder about the husband, father, grandfather he would be today. The void left in our hearts is something no one should go through just because someone decided to take the wheel after drinking too much. Drunk drivers affect so many people beyond just those who are in the crash.

After years of struggling with the loss of my brother and not being able to talk about him or mourn his death, I decided to speak up when I attended a Candlelight Vigil for MADD. I came across one person there who gave me the confidence to speak out and everything changed for me. I became an advocate for my brother. My brother is not here anymore, but I speak at Victim Impact Panels for MADD when I have an opportunity. We also participate in yearly Walk Like MADD events to remember my Hector.

We are in danger when we share the roads with a drunk driver. As the holidays approach, my only hope is that people think before they get behind the wheel after drinking and celebrating. Think before you drink.

Guest Author – November 2021

“Waymo is committed to improving road safety”

Waymo’s Mission – “Waymo’s mission is to make it safe and easy for people and things to get where they’re going. The Waymo Driver can improve the world’s access to mobility while saving thousands of lives now lost to traffic crashes.”Waymo Driver

The question is common: If there’s an emergency or incident, how will police and emergency responders interact with a fully autonomous car?

Waymo was the first company to publish a plan to help law enforcement and other emergency responders understand how its technology and vehicles work and be prepared for any situation on the road including emergencies, collisions, and other scenarios where there is no vehicle operator.

Waymo expanded its educational efforts with the release of a training video designed to provide even more information to first responders. These materials are paired with the dozens of police and fire departments that Waymo’s team has trained for police and fire departments in its areas of operation around the country.

As the holiday season approaches, Waymo is proud to team up with MADD for its annual Tie One On For Safety campaign and urge the public not to drink and drive, and always designate a non-drinking, non-consuming driver.

Waymo is committed to improving road safety and ensuring public safety officials have the knowledge and confidence to interact with a fully autonomous car.

To learn more, visit www.waymo.com/firstresponders .

Officer of the Month – November 2021

Deputy Daniel Williams

MADD November Officer of the Month

Deputy Daniel Williams

Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office

Shalimar, Florida

MADD National selects Deputy Daniel Williams as our Officer of the Month for November 2021. Deputy Williams is a sheriff’s deputy for the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office assigned to the Marine Unit.

Deputy Williams plays an indispensable role in the success of the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office Marine Unit. So far for 2021, Deputy Williams has self-initiated over 1000 vessel stops and totaled over 1500 calls for service. During this time, Deputy Williams has issued 131 boating citations and he has 27 arrests for boating under the influence.

Deputy Williams has focused his efforts towards educating the boating public, only citing 15% of the violators he encounters. Additionally, so far in 2021 he has initiated over 50 logged calls for distressed boaters/swimmers.

Deputy Williams is an asset to the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office Marine Unit and continues to surpass his previous accomplishments every year. He continues to be a model representation of a Marine Deputy Sheriff and has proven himself as an agency top performer. He is the past recipient of the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office Operation Dry Water Deputy of the Year.

We are proud to select Deputy Daniel Williams of the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office as the MADD November 2021 Officer of the Month. We thank him for his dedication to duty in making Florida’s waterways and roadways safe. We wish him the best in safety and wellness in the remaining years of his career and service to the citizens of Okaloosa County and the State of Florida.

Thank you to Sergeant Kyle Corbitt of the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office, Deputy Williams’ supervisor and MADD September 2021 Officer of the Month, for his nomination of Deputy Williams 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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For a complete listing of Officers lost in the line of duty, please visit: www.odmp.org

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