KINGSPORT – On Friday, September 5, 2014, Sergeant Joe Earles and Officer Dustin Jackson from the Kingsport Police Departments Traffic Unit traveled to Murfreesboro, TN to represent the department at the 27th Annual Tennessee Lifesavers Conference.‚  During the culminating ceremony, awards were presented for the Tennessee Law Enforcement Challenge.‚  Sixty-four other law enforcement agencies across the State of Tennessee participated in the Challenge.‚  Among departments in the 101-200 officer division, K.P.D. won first place in Traffic Safety.

Upon returning from the conference, Officer Jackson presented the award to K.P.D. Chief of Police David Quillin.‚  A photo is included in this release.

The following excerpt explaining the Tennessee Law Enforcement Challenge is shared from the Tennessee Governors Highway Safety Office website, ‚ The Governors Highway Safety Office (GHSO), the Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police (TACP), and the Tennessee Sheriffs Association (TSA) have joined forces to strengthen and support traffic enforcement nationwide by providing the Law Enforcement Challenge program, an innovative program designed to stimulate traffic law enforcement activities.‚  The program targets three major traffic safety priorities: occupant protection, impaired driving, and speeding.‚  The Law Enforcement Challenge provides law enforcement agencies with an opportunity to make a significant difference in the communities they serve.‚  The program format allows for agencies to learn from one another and establish goals in traffic safety enforcement and education.‚  Ultimately, the Law Enforcement Challenge is about saving lives and reducing injuries.

The Kingsport Police Department showed significant improvement in several critical traffic safety related areas.‚  One of these areas was in seatbelt usage where surveys showed an increase of 5%, from 84% usage in 2012 to 89% usage in 2013.‚  K.P.D. also showed a 10% overall crash reduction, 3,432 in 2012 to 3,228 in 2013, and an impressive 33% reduction in crashes resulting in injury, 646 in 2012 to 510 in 2013.

Despite, these improvements, K.P.D. continues to place a strong priority on traffic safety.‚  In addition to regular enforcement by officers from the Patrol Division and Traffic Unit, K.P.D. conducts numerous special enforcement details throughout the year.‚  These details typically focus on specific traffic offenses, such as speeding, driving under the influence, seatbelt usage, and child passenger safety seat usage.

As previously released, one of these special enforcement details, a sobriety checkpoint, is coming up later this month.‚  Driving under the influence is a choice, and unfortunately it is a choice that often negatively effects other people in addition to the offender.‚  Of Kingsports 3,228 crashes during 2013, D.U.I. was a contributing factor in 88 of them.‚  Also, during 2013 there were 14 fatal crashes in the City of Kingsport resulting in the death of 17 individuals, and D.U.I. was a factor in 6 of them.

Motorists are urged to take note of these statistics and make the conscious choice to not drive under the influence.‚  K.P.D. stresses that Tennessee D.U.I. laws apply not just to alcohol, but to any substance that impairs, including illegal drugs, over-the-counter (OTC) medications, as well as prescription drugs, even if they are prescribed by a physician.