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Big Island Officer Wins MADD Award 07-13-01

PHONE: 961-2332
JULY 13, 2001


Police Officer Robert Hatton of the Hawaii County Police Department’s Traffic Enforcement Unit has won the annual Law Enforcement Award from the Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

Hatton was honored for his dedication in keeping drunk drivers off Big Island roads.

Last year, Hatton was personally responsible for arresting 104 of the total 1,081 drunk drivers arrested. Of the 104 arrests he made, 43 were done while he had a police recruit assigned to him for field training.

Sergeant Samuel V. Jelsma, head of the Traffic Enforcement Unit, said:

“Officer Hatton has done his best to give his recruit officers the experience and confidence in making a DUI arrest, one of the more difficult cases an officer may encounter.”

Jelsma noted that most of Hatton’s 104 arrests were made while he was assigned as a patrol officer in the Puna District. Because of Hatton and other like him, Jelsma said, “the drunk now fears the real probability of getting arrested if he is caught driving on the road.”

“Although drunks still do drive, I believe that they have become more cautious, taking back roads that are less traveled by the police, and more aware of their surroundings because they never know if the car approaching them may be Officer Hatton’s,” Jelsma said.

Hatton was reassigned to the Traffic Enforcement Unit in October 2000.

His recognition from MADD marks the second year in a row that a Hawaii County police officer has received the award. Last year, Jelsma won the award.

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