Issaquah officers honored for anti-drunken driving patrols

June 5, 2010

By Warren Kagarise

NEW — 6 a.m. June 5, 2010

Four Issaquah police officers received special recognition Tuesday for efforts to make local and county roads safer.

King County leaders honored Issaquah officers Andy Rohrbach, Ryan Raulerson, Brian Horn and Tom Griffith, as well as other officers, deputies and troopers for efforts to reduce fatal traffic accidents.

The officers from the Issaquah Police Department and 27 other local law enforcement agencies received plaudits for efforts to reduce drunken driving through X-52 patrols — enhanced DUI enforcement. Rohrbach coordinates the DUI patrol emphasis for the Issaquah Police Department.

The number of deaths from crashes dropped to 94, on average, in 2007 and 2008 from the average of 118 deaths from 2002 to 2006. Preliminary data shows the number of fatalities dropped to 76 last year. King County has the lowest traffic fatality rate in Washington.

Efforts to further reduce the number of traffic deaths earned praise from King County Executive Dow Constantine and Sheriff Sue Rahr at the Tuesday ceremony.

“Safe streets are critical for a safe community, and I want to thank our all our partners for their important work in helping save lives,” Constantine said in a news release. “This drop in traffic fatalities is a great sign that tools like strong enforcement, public education and traffic engineering improvements are working and I look forward to helping King County build on its success.”

Strong enforcement of anti-drunken driving laws, increased seat belt use, better automotive safety equipment, improved traffic engineering and changes in driving habits also contributed to the decreased number of fatalities.

“I could not be more pleased to see that the hard work of sheriff’s deputies and all law enforcement officers has helped to reduce traffic fatalities,” Rahr said in the release. “Traffic safety is just one component of overall public safety, but an extremely important one. My pledge is to continue this hard work for added success well into the future.”

But traffic safety remains a concern. From 2004-2008, 568 people died in traffic crashes in King County, and crashes injured another 98,000 people.

“Traffic safety is a public health issue that affects everyone who wants to move on our streets and sidewalks,” Dr. David Fleming, director and health officer for Public Health – Seattle & King County, said in the release. “Giving people easily accessible options where they can feel and stay safe on foot and by bike are key to healthier communities.”

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