Franklin officers honored

Published 8:54 am Wednesday, September 16, 2009

FRANKLIN—On average, a drunken driver kills someone every 45 minutes in the United States and about three in every 10 Americans will be involved in an alcohol-related crash during their lifetime.

Those sobering statistics are from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. However, law enforcement officials across the country and locally are working to keep drunken drivers off of the road.

Franklin police officers, Officers Joshua Butts and Quentin Livingston were among the police officers and state troopers honored for their efforts to curb drunken driving by the Chesapeake Bay and Southeastern Alcohol Safety Action Programs and the Southside Chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

An awards ceremony was held on Sept. 3 in Virginia Beach to honor the two officers from each department with the highest number of DUI suspect arrests.

The Franklin Police Department submitted Butts and Livingston to be recognized.

They both arrested five DUI suspects in 2008.

This is Livingston’s second time being recognized. He said that he was just “in the right place.” He said that more drunken drivers are caught at night, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t driving during the day.

“It’s more common at night, but that’s not to say that you can’t get them in the daytime,” he said. “People drive drunk whether it’s day or night.”

Everyone already knows the dangers and risks of drunken driving, however, everyday people drive while intoxicated, often with tragic consequences.

“I don’t think it’s much you can say to (drunken drivers),” Livingston said. “All we can tell the public is that we’re out here.”

Butts said he doesn’t think that Franklin’s rate of DUI is much different than any other city. He said the city probably had between 16 and 20 DUI arrests in 2008.

“I’d say per capita, it probably would equal that of any other city,” he said. He said that officers from larger cities like Virginia Beach had upwards of 100 DUI arrests each.

“It was an honor to receive the award,” Butts said. “We only had five arrests apiece, but for here, that makes a difference.”

The Isle of Wight County Sheriff’s Department also had two honorees, Deputy Sheriffs William Fordham and Steven Borst.

Livingston had this to say to anyone who drives while intoxicated: “If you come across us, we’ll pursue charges to the fullest.”