Local officers awarded for combined 187 DWI arrests
Lombard: ‘If you don’t drink and drive, you don’t take the risk’
There are warnings almost everywhere about the dangers of driving drunk, and still every day, people and families are affected by drunk drivers.
The Missouri Highway Patrol recognized two troopers on April 8, and Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) recognized a Cassville officer on Thursday for their DWI arrests.
Trooper Travis Coffey, said he was awarded for 69 DWI arrests for 2018.
“I ranked No. 8 in the state with that,” he said. “To me, that is an amazing accomplishment. Knowing that there is at least 110 counties with different police departments in their counties, to be in the top eight is amazing.”
Coffey said it isn’t about being in the top, but he believe people should do everything to their fullest.
“I have been directly affected by a drunk driver,” he said. “That is what fuels my desire for removing impaired drivers from the road. Knowing that they cost people their lives is something that is completely preventable.”
Coffey said he has a passion to remove drunk drivers from the road and from the opportunity to hurt people.
“I spend every shift with a goal to arrest one drunk driver,” he said. “Obviously, that doesn’t always happen, but that is my intent.”
Coffey said this is the fourth time in a row that he has been recognized for this effort, and he has been a trooper for 10 years.
Trooper Ryan Hutton said he was awarded for a total of 78 DWI arrests in 2018.
“I had actually transferred in June,” he said. “So those numbers are just up until then.”
Hutton said that ranked him at No. 7 in the state.
“I have been awarded for this twice before,” he said. “The last two times, I was ranked at No. 1 and then No. 2.”
Hutton said he has been hit personally by drunk drivers twice.
“With the Patrol, we live where we work,” he said. “So my family is out driving around the same streets that I work.”
Hutton said he finds it important to stop drunk drivers to protect them.
“I’ve been an officer for 19 years,” he said “I work for General Headquarters in Jefferson City now, and have actually taken over the DWI program for the Highway Patrol.”
Taylor Lombard was a sergeant for the Barry County Sheriff’s Office and is now an officer for the Cassville Police Department.
“I was awarded for the DWI arrests in the county by MADD,” he said. “I had a total of 40 DWI arrests in 2018.”
Lombard said Barry County is a part of the Newton and Jasper County chapter, and they take the top DWI arrest officers in the area.
“I have been personally affected a couple of times by a drunk driver,” he said. “I lost one of my best friends to a drunk driver.”
Lombard said one of the reasons he has such a passion for getting drunk drivers off the road is because it is one of the only things in law enforcement that makes an impact immediately.
“As soon as that car stops people are safer,” he said. “That could save someone.”
Lombard said people should know not to drink and drive.
“If you don’t drink and drive, you don’t take the risk of possibly hurting yourself or someone else,” he said. “You never think it will happen to you, but you never know.”
Lombard said both Hutton and Coffey have inspired him and taught him to be the officer that he is now, and to keep drunk drivers off the road.