Kudos to our award winning police department!

The Sleepy Eye Police Department received a special award at the Jan. 9 city council meeting. When I wrote the article about the meeting, I didn’t have enough space to really do it justice. It was actually kind of a big deal—they were one of four departments in the state to receive the honor. I want to congratulate our police officers on the recognition.

The honor came from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety. That’s a long name, but to clarify, it is the department that coordinates the Toward Zero Deaths (TZD) program. The TZD Law Enforcement Liaison, Scott McConkey, was at the city council meeting to give the award.

McConkey made a point to say that in spite of the public thinking that law enforcement likes to give tickets, it just isn’t true. They would much rather the public not violate any traffic laws that lead to tickets. That’s why initiatives like the ‘Click It or Ticket’ seat belt enforcement campaigns are conducted. Seat belts save lives. Law enforcement personnel are part of that effort to save lives.

My opinion here—if it takes writing traffic tickets to get motorists to follow a law meant to keep drivers and passengers safe, then it’s great news when our police department writes those safety reminders (tickets).

Chief Matt Andres gave a statement on the department’s efforts. “We are dedicated to keeping Sleepy Eye roads safe and working toward fewer traffic-related deaths and injuries . . . . Each life matters and it’s an honor to be recognized for the protection of people on the roads that we all share.”

I’ve read several accounts recently of people who decide to go into law enforcement because they want to help people. One man said he was torn between becoming a pastor or a police officer. He said he just always knew he wanted to help people.

The SEPD received a radar device to monitor speed as their award. They’ll use that to help keep us all safe from drivers going at unsafe speeds. It’s all part of an effort toward zero deaths.