By Amanda Amsel
A local police officer was recognized for going above and beyond the call of duty to protect the community.
Police officer Michael Weaver, of the Grove City Division of Police, was recently awarded the 2013 Award of Excellence by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).
“Every year we recognize the most outstanding law enforcement for stopping impaired drivers and keeping our roads safe,” said Doug Scoles, state executive director for MADD. “Officers are nominated by their colleagues and supervisors and a select group are awarded this highly regarded honor.”
This year 28 officers from eight different counties won the award.
Only a Grove City police officer for four years, Weaver is significantly younger than the average officers who have won this award.
“Even though he has only been with the force for a short time, he is one of the most dedicated officers we have out on the roads,” Scoles said. “In the past 10 months alone he has had 45 OVI arrests and has been a role model for fellow officers.”
In addition to his basic training, Weaver has also taken several advance classes to learn alternative ways to detect impaired drivers. Using clues like a driver’s eyes and behavior to determine if they are impaired, Weaver uses physical evidence to prove a driver should not be on the roads.
“Most people do not realize that in order to get a conviction you have to put a very solid case together,” said Jeff Pearson, captain of the Grove City Division of Police. “Officer Weaver’s meticulous paperwork and dedication helps us get convictions and holds people accountable for their actions.”
Every year thousands of people lose their lives as a result of impaired driving, so Weaver’s dedication is life saving.
“I really was naïve to what a big issue impaired driving was until I started working the third shift,” Weaver said. “In my short time here, I have seen impaired drivers crash into everything from trees to bridges to buildings.”
Weaver said there are many misconceptions about impaired driving, including thinking you are sober enough to drive when you are not.
“People don’t realize that it doesn’t take much alcohol to be impaired,” he said. “Just because you do not feel drunk doesn’t mean your motor skills are not affected.”
According to Weaver, another big misconception is that people think only alcohol affects their driving, when in reality, drugs also have a huge impact on a person’s driving.
“People on pills, opiates, marijuana and other drugs also have impaired reactions, which is crucial to operating a vehicle,” Weaver said. “Just because you have not had any alcohol doesn’t mean you are good to drive.”
Honored to receive this award, Weaver hopes his recognition will bring even more attention to this increasing issue.
“Impaired driving affects more people than any other crime,” he said. “So next time you are impaired call a cab because it really is not worth it. You will be thankful in the morning.”