Gateway MADD honors St. Charles
County law enforcement officials

(ST. CHARLES COUNTY, Mo.) -- St. Charles County law-enforcement officials won big at the Mothers Against Drunk Driving's Gateway Chapter annual award's ceremony Thursday night.

Two of the biggest awards went to St. Charles County sheriff's deputy Travis Jones and St. Charles County Prosecuting Attorney Jack Banas. Jones won the Officer of the Year, and Banas won Prosecutor of the Year.

Jones is a member of the sheriff's department DWI Enforcement Unit, made up of deputies specially trained and equipped in DWI detection.

He made 184 DWI arrests and arrested 10 juveniles under zero-tolerance laws in a year.

"That's a man that's doing his job," said Michael Boland, president of the MADD chapter.

The award went to Banas because he attended the past two MADD annual leadership training seminars.

The week-long seminars were held the past two years in Washington, D.C., and Albuquerque, N.M. Nationwide, MADD members, made up mostly of friends and relatives of those killed in drunken-driving crashes, meet at the seminar to discuss issues.

"Jack has gone that extra mile to learn about both sides," Boland said. Most of the members of the organization are disappointed with prosecutors, he said.

Three St. Peters Police Department officers were recognized at the ceremony, which was held at the Columns Banquet Center in St. Charles.

Capt. Gary Ruebling was honored for starting the DWI enforcement program in the department in May 1998.

He lobbied for a specially trained officer to enforce DWI laws and encouraged the patrol division to take a more active role in DWI apprehension, Boland said.

The department's DWI enforcement officer, John Briggs, arrested 70 drunken drivers, attends MADD meetings and speaks on victims' impact panels, he said.

Briggs also investigated a 7-Eleven store for selling alcohol to minors.

Patrol officer Lance Lenhoff arrested 22 drunken drivers, in addition to his regular duties.

Other individuals and departments in St. Charles County recognized at the ceremony were:

* St. Charles police officer Robert McWilliams - for making 70 DWI arrests, while at the same time working as a canine officer and traffic-crash investigator.

* Cottleville police officer Brandon Jones - for making 29 DWI arrests and giving six tickets for minor in possession, two tickets for driving with an open container and 16 tickets under the abuse-and-lose law.

* Lake Saint Louis police officer Josh Gilliam - for arresting numerous drunken drivers, while also being active by speaking in the community and being involved with MADD.

* Members of the sheriff's DWI Enforcement unit - Jeff Ochs made 106 DWI arrests, Bob Minaeff made 107 and Debra Becker made 100.

Volunteer reserve officers Gary Dill and David Shanks have worked during all the special-enforcement efforts, including checkpoints and saturation patrols. The unit is commanded by Sgt. Keith DeWitte.

(iSyndicate; St. Louis Post-Dispatch; Nov. 6, 2000). Terms and Conditions: Copyright(c) 2000 LEXIS-NEXIS, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights Reserved.

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