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Crow Wing County law enforcement honored in TZD efforts

Law enforcement agencies in Crow Wing County were chosen to receive the Department of Public Safety's Toward Zero Deaths Commissioner's Award for outstanding enforcement and education efforts during 2015.

Law enforcement agencies in Crow Wing County were chosen to receive the Department of Public Safety's Toward Zero Deaths Commissioner's Award for outstanding enforcement and education efforts during 2015.

Commissioner Mona Dohman and the Office of Traffic Safety will honor the Brainerd Police Department and its 10 partner agencies during a recognition luncheon planned June 1 in the Brainerd area.

The Commissioner's Award highlights the exceptional partnership of municipal, county and state law enforcement agencies working together on a highly visible, well-publicized traffic safety enforcement program funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The Brainerd Police Department is the lead agency on the TZD Enforcement Grant, and its partner agencies include the Baxter, Breezy Point, Nisswa, Pequot Lakes, Crosby, Crosslake, Deerwood, Cuyuna and Emily police departments and the Crow Wing County Sheriff's Office.

"Influencing Minnesotans to make safe choices on the road requires community engagement, personal outreach by our partner agencies and enforcement," Dohman said in a press release. "The agencies receiving the Commissioner's Award are engaging with people through education and activities that help Minnesotans make good decisions behind the wheel."

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The agencies demonstrate that improving safety on Minnesota roads takes face-to-face outreach and enforcement to influence behaviors. Their efforts include seat

belt education, mock car crashes at area high schools, senior driving safety seminars, alcohol server training and high-visibility enforcement. The work focuses on all traffic safety issues with an emphasis on impaired driving, occupant protection, speed and distracted driving.

Grant-funded agencies are nominated for the Commissioner's Award based on several criteria, including:

• Continuous coordinated enforcement efforts throughout the year on behaviors that can impact

Minnesotans in tragic ways, such as no seat belt use, distracted driving, drunk driving and speeding.

• Community awareness and educational activities such as child passenger safety clinics and traffic safety education.

• Timely and accurate reporting of extra enforcement campaign results.

During October's Click It or Ticket campaign, law enforcement reported 5,550 motorists were cited for seat belt violations from Oct. 9-25, a 33 percent drop from October 2014 when 8,195 motorists were ticketed.

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Officers, deputies and troopers made 1,513 arrests during the enhanced DWI enforcement campaign Aug. 21 through Sept. 7 in 2015, compared to 1,340 during the 2014 campaign.

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety comprises 11 divisions where 2,100 employees operate programs in the areas of law enforcement, crime victim assistance, traffic safety, alcohol and gambling, emergency communications, fire safety, pipeline safety, driver licensing, vehicle registration and emergency management. The DPS activity is anchored by three core principles: education, enforcement and prevention.

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety designs, implements and

coordinates federally funded traffic safety enforcement and education programs to improve driver behaviors and reduce deaths and serious injuries that occur on Minnesota roads. DPS-OTS also administers state funds for the motorcycle safety program and for the child seats for needy families program. It also is an anchoring partner of the state's TZD traffic safety program. A primary vision of the TZD program is to create a safe driving culture in Minnesota in which motorists support a goal of zero road fatalities by practicing and promoting safe and smart driving behavior. The TZD program focuses on the application of four strategic areas to reduce crashes-education, enforcement, engineering, and emergency medical and trauma response.

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