MADD

New Braunfels Police Department Officers John Lopez, Zachariah Alvarado, and Terry Flugrath (not pictured) were recognized by the South Texas affiliate of Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Together, they arrested 162 people for DWIs. Pictured with them is Jackie Ipina, the program specialist and law enforcement liaison for MADD. Submitted photo

 

The South Texas Affiliate of Mothers Against Drunk Driving recently acknowledged the New Braunfels Police Department for its efforts in combatting drunken driving.

The group looks at and highlights exceptional law enforcement professionals in counties like Bexar and Comal who have contributed to end impaired driving and protect the South Texas community.

Three NBPD officers have been recognized, Officers John Lopez, Terry Flugrath and Zach Alvarado. Together they made 162 arrests in 2018.

Flugrath also received the MADD Hero Award. Jackie Ipina, program specialist law enforcement liaison for MADD, said the officer who nominated Flugrath wrote, “He has a passion for enforcement of DWIs.”

The description for the MADD Hero category says the award is dedicated to impaired driving enforcement, alcohol and/or drugs, diligence of DWI arrests and an outstanding record of arrests.

“We have different categories and usually with that one, the officer may have the most arrests in their department,” Ipina said. “We see certain passions that we have, that we want to take these impaired drivers off the road and make our roads safer for all of us.”

This is the first year that Comal County was included in Ipina’s region since she’s been on, and her position is funded by a grant from the Texas Department of Transportation.

“They see San Antonio and New Braunfels very closely connected, so we’re trying to incorporate and just expand, educating and bringing outreach and resources,” Ipina said. “And you know it’s an epidemic. It’s something that we see everyday of drunk driving fatality.”

 She said it’s also getting the word out there and letting people know it starts with them making a decision to not drink and drive, and to avoid any fatalities or injuries. 

“They included (Comal County) in the grant so hopefully we expand and we could get more support and more participation for next year’s event,” she said.

The city of New Braunfels also got recognized as an outstanding agency. 

Meaning it’s not only about arresting people, but also educating the community and discussing underage drinking, the consequences and planning ahead for everyone that is of the age to drink. 

 “We don’t want you to drink and drive. We want you to make a plan on how you’re going to get home,” Ipina said. “Uber, taxi, public transportation and not just your driver that had the least amount to drink, but your driver that has had not one single drop of alcohol.”

Ipina said the time between the Memorial Day weekend to September 1 are the 100 deadliest days of the year, and the month of July has the highest of drunk driving fatalities. This is based on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Additionally, the Fourth of July is one of the worst days of the year for drunk driving.

“Sometimes certain agencies don’t have the capacity, they’re understaffed and they won’t be able to get everyone with so many people driving impaired,” Ipina said. “But that one drunk driver that they take off the road is a fatality that we are preventing.”

From Jan. 1, 2018 to Dec. 31, 2018, the NBPD arrested 402 people for DWI.

For more information about MADD, visit https://www.madd.org/south-texas/.

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