POINT PLEASANT — The Governor’s Highway Safety Program recently recognized two deputies with the Mason County Sheriff’s Department, along with the entire agency, for its efforts to keep roads safe from impaired drivers.
Deputies Mitch Waugh and Justin Veith were singled out for their respective efforts at the Region 2 Governor’s Highway Safety Awards Luncheon earlier this month where 30 awards were presented to law enforcement officers in Region 2, which includes Cabell, Lincoln, Mason, Mingo, Putnam, and Wayne counties.
Waugh was named the Region 2 Drug Recognition Expert of the Year and he also picked up an Outstanding Region 2 Top Impaired Driving Enforcement Officer Award. Waugh had 46 DUI arrests, narrowly missing the top award which went to Cpl. Travis Hagen of the Huntington Police Department who had 47 DUI arrests.
Veith wasn’t too far behind Waugh, also picking up an Outstanding Region 2 Top Impaired Driving Enforcement Officer Award. Veith was recognized for his 33 DUI arrests in 2017.
In all, Sheriff Greg Powers said his agency had 116 total DUI arrests last year and he credited the work of Waugh, Veith and other deputies with that statistic.
“These guys (Waugh and Veith) excelled at getting impaired drivers off the roads,” Powers said, adding the remaining 37 DUI arrests the department had were made by several other deputies last year. “I’m proud of the work they all did.”
That work earned the sheriff’s department the Top Sheriff’s Department for Impaired Driving Enforcement Award in Region 2.
“The Mason County Sheriff’s Department has taken a zero tolerance approach to impaired drivers over the past four years,” Beau Evans, the coordinator for the Governor’s Highway Safety Program Region 2 said. “Their arrest numbers have tripled over the past few years and their dedication and passion for saving lives and keeping folks safe has been their number one priority. Not only do they excel in impaired driving enforcement, but general traffic enforcement measures such as speed enforcement along Routes 2 and 35 has decreased fatalities to near zero thanks to their efforts.”
Powers said his department receives grant money from the Governor’s Highway Safety Program to pay for overtime for officers to operate sobriety check points, get impaired drivers off the roads and provide extra coverage and patrolling of areas like U.S. 35 for aggressive and impaired driving.
Beth Sergent is editor of Ohio Valley Publishing.