Kalispell Troopers Honored as “Safety Heroes” by Federal Officials
KALISPELL – The troopers of the Montana Highway Patrol’s District VI in Kalispell were recognized Wednesday as “Safety Heroes” by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
NHTSA’s Regional Administrator John Moffat honored all District VI troopers for “Outstanding Performance in Crash Reduction” in recognition of their efforts to reduce impaired driving and to enforce Montana’s DUI laws.
Attorney General Steve Bullock, who oversees the Department of Justice, and Highway Patrol Col. Mike Tooley also spoke at the event.
“With the right mix of treatment, strong laws and public support, other states and nations have found ways to prevent drunk driving. We can here in Montana too,” Bullock said to the troopers. “I will do everything I can to make sure that your efforts and your sacrifices lead to positive change.”
Col. Tooley said that reducing highway fatalities is the Patrol’s top priority.
“The troopers of the Kalispell District have made a positive difference in their communities by fairly and diligently enforcing our traffic laws. It’s gratifying to see their efforts recognized by NHTSA,” Tooley said. “Even more impressive is the fact that the troopers of this District have performed at this level in the face of incredible adversity.”
In addition to the overall district award, Troopers Glen Barcus and Mike Haynes were individually recognized as “Safety Champions” for their DUI enforcement efforts. Barcus and Haynes led the Highway Patrol in DUI arrests in 2008.
Trooper Barcus, 31, was sworn in as a trooper in January 2006.
Trooper Haynes died in the line of duty earlier this year when his patrol car was in a head-on collision with a drunk driver. Haynes, 28, was sworn in as a trooper in August 2006. His wife Tawny accepted the award on his behalf.
NHTSA is a branch of the U.S. Department of Transportation and describes its mission as “Save lives, prevent injuries, reduce vehicle-related crashes.”
After nearly 30 years without any fatalities, the Montana Highway Patrol has seen three troopers die in the line of duty in the past 18 months. All three of the most recently deceased troopers were stationed in the Kalispell District.