CHARLESTON (JG-TC) — Coles County Sheriff’s Office personnel this week will be honored, as will officers from the police departments at Eastern Illinois University, Mattoon and Charleston, according to a press release.
The event to honor the law enforcement personnel is to begin at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Buzzard Hall second floor atrium on EIU’s campus, a media statement from Respect for Youth (RFY), EIU’s chapter of University Mothers Against Drunk Driving (UMADD), stated. The awards to the officers will be presented by members of RFY.
“We want to honor those who have made Coles County streets and highways much safer by getting impaired drivers off the road,” RFY President Brandon Mendez said. “Each year, Respect for Youth honors the officers from each department who have given the most DUI tickets, making the roads safer for all of us.”
In addition, according to Mendez, this year the group will honor the department with the most total arrests with a traveling trophy, which was donated to the group by EIU Chief of Police Adam Due. Each year it will move to the department that removes the largest total number of impaired drivers from the streets of Coles County.
This year the honor goes to the Sheriff’s Office.
RFY will honor Capt. Ray Hall for getting 16 impaired drivers off the streets of Mattoon; Sgt. Mike Elam for getting 20 impaired drivers off the streets in and around EIU; Officer Brian Hissong for getting 31 impaired drivers off the streets of Charleston; and, Deputy Sheriff Chris Cochennour for getting 67 impaired drivers off the roads of Coles County.
RFY was founded in 2007 following the death of the girlfriend of EIU football wide receiver Micah Rucker, when she was hit by an underage, drunk driver.
Rucker, who now plays for the New Orleans Voo Doo, wanted to do what he could to ensure no one else suffered such a loss. He started Respect for Youth with this in mind, and the group brings inspirational speakers to campus, promotes events that do not include alcohol and does other activities to stress the responsibilities that go with alcohol use.
Membership in the group is free and both students and community members are welcome to attend to work toward these goals. The group meets every other Tuesday at 7 p.m. in Buzzard Hall in Room 2522, the Journalism Department conference room. The last meeting of the year will be April 23.