AGENCY OF THE YEAR
Montgomery County Constable Precinct Four
MCCO #4 has been a pivotal agency in DWI enforcement in 2010. The constable, Rowdy Hayden, has ensured that 100% of his peace officers received updated training for DWI enforcement, the Constable has required all of his available officers to work during heavy drinking holidays such as New Year’s Eve, has conducted numerous No Refusal initiatives, assisted in the creation of the state’s first DWI Sobriety Saturation Patrol points which are now being recognized for their deterrent effect (about 1 in 4 drivers stopped was violating DWI laws or driving with No DL/Ins), has begun seizing vehicles from the most dangerous DWI offenders, and has worked closely with others in preventing DWI crimes.
OFFICER OF THE YEAR
Terry Dean Barnhill, Department of Public Safety
Sergeant Barnhill has been instrumental in bringing traffic safety, DWI enforcement, and crash investigations to the forefront with the DA’s office. Sgt. Barnhill has worked with this office to ensure that the troopers in this county have the latest investigation equipment available to ensure that car crashes are fully investigated. Sgt. Barnhill has worked closely with the DAO on the scenes of fatal crash investigations to ensure the integrity of the evidence and he has also worked with other agencies to ensure that there staff are trained in DWI detection and enforcement. Lastly, Sgt. Barnhill has become a state’s expert in DWI cases when the defense attacks the training of troopers or the quality of a troopers work in a DWI investigation. Sgt. Barnhill, in addition to his regular duties, has tirelessly been available to prosecutors as an expert and testified on many occasions in DWI cases. As a result of his efforts, prosecutors were able to rebut many defensive theories on DWI cases that might have otherwise resulted in adverse verdicts.
MUNICIPALITY OF THE YEAR
Magnolia Police Department
As a result of persistent complaints about impaired drivers at the Texas Renaissance Festival to the DA’s Office, Chief of Police D. Ibarra was asked to participate in November’s No Refusal for the Texas Renaissance Festival. The chief responded and had all available police officers work traffic enforcement during No Refusal hours. He made his facility available for this office and staff to operate the No Refusal program. During several of the No Refusal weekends in November, his jurisdiction had the third largest number of DWI arrests in the county behind DPS and CPD. For an agency with only a few officers, this is a significant accomplishment. Lastly, there were a couple high profile DWI arrests in his jurisdiction and rather than allow the offender to just get a ride home, his agency participated in the arrest and prosecution of the DWI offenders.
INSTRUCTOR OF THE YEAR
Jeff Smith, Conroe Police Department
Jeff Smith of the Conroe police Department is an old hand at DWI enforcement and at crash reconstruction. Officer Smith has been instrumental in training prosecutors, defense lawyers, and others at impaired driving detection and drug impaired driving detection. Officer Smith has trained hundreds of people at SFSTs, DWIs, DRE, and other fields. His efforts have helped to improve the number of officers in his jurisdiction and this county in the field of traffic safety. Because of his efforts, this county now has more certified prosecutors in drug impaired driving cases than any other Texas jurisdiction. Lastly, his training not only goes to law enforcement: at the request of the District Attorney, he assisted in a presentation at the North Shore Women’s Club (???) where Officer Smith was a hit with the ladies after he “dosed up” a volunteer and put her through field sobriety testing.
VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR
Houston Police Department
The Houston Police Department’s jurisdiction extends into this county in the Kingwood area and also in the Lake Conroe area. Recognizing the impaired driving was not a Houston problem, but a regional one in that drivers celebrating too much in MC travel home to HC or vice versa, this agency volunteered to work with MC agencies during many No Refusal events by providing one or more officers and its famed BAT mobile. The use of these officers was extremely beneficial in providing assistance to local agencies, the DAO, and the citizens as a whole. In addition to the BAT mobile, Houston Police Department officer Paul Lassalle also volunteered his time to assist in training police and prosecutors in DWI enforcement as well as being available to testify as an SFST and DWI expert in MC cases. The level of cooperation of the HPD with MC agencies has been extremely helpful in bringing awareness to the problem of DWI in this county.