Rome officer lauded for DWI efforts

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Rome Police Officer Hollie B. Kennedy has been honored with her sixth award — in seven years — for her efforts to help curb drunk driving in the
city.

Kennedy was one of 12 officers from across the county recognized for their efforts by the Oneida County STOP-DWI Program.

The annual awards breakfast was held at Mohawk Valley Community College in Utica.

“Today, we recognize those police officers who save countless lives by removing intoxicated motorists from Oneida County roadways and deterring others from getting behind the wheel under the influence of alcohol and drugs,” said Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. in a release.

“While we appreciate their efforts each and every day, this annual event is a way we can publicly thank some of our law enforcement members for the fine work they do in keeping us safe.”

One award is given per police agency. The award is the Oneida County Outstanding DWI Law Enforcement Award. Kennedy also won the award last year.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, over 10,000 people died as a result of drunk driving — almost 30 people per day — in the United States. The NHTSA estimated the costs of drinking and driving — from deaths to property damage — exceed $44 billion annually.

The NHTSA adds that part of the problem is that alcohol is a substance that reduces the function of the brain, impairing thinking, reasoning and muscle coordination; and can often mislead people who have been drinking to believe that their driving won’t be impaired.

As alcohol levels rise in a person’s system, its negative effects on the central nervous system increase.

Alcohol is absorbed directly through the walls of the stomach and small intestine, the NHTSA adds, accumulating in the bloodstream until it is metabolized by the liver.

Alcohol level is measured by the weight of the alcohol in a certain volume of blood. This is called Blood Alcohol Concentration, or BAC. At a BAC of .08 grams of alcohol per deciliter of blood, crash risk increases exponentially, the NHTSA added. Because of this risk, it’s illegal in all 50 States, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico to drive with a BAC of .08 or higher, the NHTSA said, adding that even much lessers amounts of alcohol can result in tragic events.

Approximately one-third of all traffic crash fatalities in the U.S. involve drunk drivers, the NHTSA said.

Among those receiving awards were:

• Officer Hollie Kennedy, Rome Police Department.

• Trooper David Todora, New York State Police.

• Officer Kyle Murphy, Utica Police Department.

• Mark Edick, Oneida County Probation Department and monitor for the Ignition Interlock Program.

• Officer Michael Firley, Whitestown Police Department.

• Sgt. Robert Frankland, New York Mills Police Department.

• Officer W. Jason Freiberger, New Hartford Police Department.

• Officer Mitchell Grogan, Whitesboro Police Department.

• Deputy Brett Grabeldinger, Oneida County Sheriff’s Office.

• Officer Scott Bush, Kirkland Police Department.

• Officer Thomas Guca, Yorkville Police Department.

• Officer Shawn Redden, Camden Police Department.

Officer Freiberger was also presented with the William M. Weber Memorial Award for Excellence in Crash Reconstruction. Sgt. Terry Gilbert, of the Sheriff’s Community Affairs Unit, was presented with the Michael C. Austin Community Service Award.

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