Several law enforcement agencies received awards at the Vermont Law Enforcement Challenge luncheon held last week.
The Vermont Law Enforcement Challenge is a program for law enforcement agencies based on the National Law Enforcement Challenge, sponsored in part by the International Association of Chiefs of Police (I.A.C.P.) and partially funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The program encourages a 'friendly' competition between law enforcement agencies. Participation in highway safety initiatives such as the "Click It or Ticket", and "You Drink and Drive, You Lose" programs as well as safety education events at schools, community events and retail outlets weigh heavily in the judging.
The top finishing agencies in categories based on department size were Berlin Police Department, Shelburne Police Department (top scoring agency), Bennington Police Department, and Washington County Sheriff's Department. The Vermont State Police also received a special category award.
Also presented was the Governor's Highway Safety Officer of the Year award to Officer Chad Bassette of the Berlin Police Department. This award goes to an officer who demonstrates endless devotion to highway safety within the community they serve as well as contributing significantly to other agencies throughout the year.
A special Public Service Award presented by Jim Ryan, Deputy Regional Administrator from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to Chief Gary Taylor in recognition of leadership and innovation in developing and implementing the data-driven approaches to crime and traffic safety model for the St. Albans Police Department.
The Ruby Rainault Occupant Protection Memorial Award honors Essex County Deputy Sheriff Ruby Rainault who was a Child Passenger Seat Technician throughout the Northeast Kingdom and promoted occupant protection education. She gave her life in the line of duty on Nov. 24, 2003. This year's award went to Trooper Renee S. Hall, of the Vermont State Police.