SPRINGFIELD, Ore. (KMTR) -- Springfield Police and Oregon State Police's Springfield-based troopers received major recognition for their work getting impaired drivers off the road. Several local officers are being honored in a statewide DUII enforcement conference this weekend.
The Oregon DUII Multi-Disciplinary Training Conference is a training summit for police agencies across Oregon to learn about DUII enforcement issues, progress and techniques. Springfield Police Officer Tom Speldrich is being honored at this year's conference as the state's DUII Enforcement Municipal Police Officer of the Year.
NewsSource 16 featured Officer Speldrich in a special report on DUII driving in February 2012 titled, Curbing DUII's. You can view the report at the following link: http://www.kmtr.com/news/content/special/story/SPECIAL-REPORT-Curbing-DUIIs-Springfield-Police/GeRSMsNnLkmO9GBbvkhVXQ.cspx.
Officer Speldrich has worked for the Springfield Police Department for around four years, previously working with the Lane County Sheriff's Office. For the last two years, he has served as Springfield's dedicated DUII patrol officer. From February 2011 to February 2012, Officer Speldrich arrested 202 impaired drivers in Springfield.
Speldrich is also trained as a special drug recognition expert, taking part in extra training sessions to learn about other signs of impairment beyond alcohol.
"It shows that here in the Springfield-Eugene area at least, we're serious about it. We're trying to educate people about the dangers while driving impaired,” says Officer Speldrich. “Statistically speaking, by arresting that are driving impaired, we're going to save somebody's life. To thank us, the department, for what we're doing, it just makes me feel good."
Another local DUII specialist, Oregon Trooper Evan Sether, is also being recognized as the DUII Trainer of the Year. This award is given to one Oregon law enforcement officer each year who takes part in delivering “worthwhile training to groups and organizations in how to deter, detect or reduce DUII or alcohol and/or drug related incidents".
A nearly four year OSP veteran, Trooper Sether spends about half his time now training others with his skills as a drug recognition expert. Along with speaking to officers throughout Oregon and elsewhere, Sether also speaks to local classrooms to teach students about impaired driving.
"It's wonderful to get them (awards) but I am going to continue doing this whether I get awards or not in the future. It certainly gives me the extra motivation to go out there and keep going,” said Trooper Sether. “If nothing else, that spurs other offices around the state to work harder, too, so that they can bring their numbers up and make a positive impact in their area.".
For the second year in a row, Sether's office - the Oregon State Police Springfield Command - is also being recognized at this weekend's conference as the DUII Enforcement State Agency of the Year.
The Springfield Command office led all other OSP offices in Oregon with over 650 DUII arrests in 2011, up 75 arrests from 2010.
Officer Speldrich and Trooper Sether say their best advice is to drive sober, designate a driver when impaired and to report possible impaired driving immediately to police.
The awards were made at the conference held in Canyonville the weekend of April 21, 2012.