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Traffic safety advocates recognized at Partner Summit

Representatives of law enforcement, transportation, engineering, public health, and other safety agencies from across the state were honored for their commitment to traffic safety through the North Dakota Department of Transportation’s Vision Zero Partner Summit Awards.

The awards are for those who showed outstanding service and dedication to accomplish the overall goal of Vision Zero, to eliminate motor vehicle crash fatalities and serious injuries on North Dakota roads.

The winners are in the following categories:

  • 2020 Beyond the Traffic Stop: This award is designed to recognize those officers who made outstanding cases resulting from a single routine traffic stop. 
    • Officer Damien Girodat – Bismarck Police Department
      • Officer Girodat’s investigation resulted in criminal apprehension, drug charges, resisting arrest, criminal mischief, and a felon in possession of a firearm.
    • Officer Mike Miller – Bismarck Police Department
      • Officer Miller’s investigation resulted in criminal apprehension, drug charges, resisting arrest, criminal mischief, and a felon in possession of a firearm.
    • Chief Allen Schmidt – Berthold Police Department
      • Chief Schmidt’s investigation resulted in criminal apprehension and numerous drug charges.
    • Deputy Cole Thomsen – Cass Co. Sheriff’s Office
      • Deputy Thomsen’s investigation resulted in criminal apprehension, drug charges and numerous burglary charges.
    • Corporal Andrew Ebertowski – Grand Forks Police Department
      • Corporal Ebertowski’s investigation resulted in criminal apprehension and various drug charges.
    • Officer Caleb Nelson – Grand Forks Police Department
      • Officer Nelson’s investigation resulted in criminal apprehension and various drug charges.
  • 2020 Traffic Safety Media Award - This award is for the reporter/news organization that has been fair, balanced, and informative in reporting transportation/traffic related issues on radio, television, newspaper, or internet/social media.
    • Bismarck Tribune
      • Increased coverage in 2019 of traffic safety-related stories.
      • Published pieces in support of Vision Zero.
    • Mountrail County Promoter
      • Continues to promote the message of Vision Zero through consistent media coverage.
      • Ran 32 of 37 NDDOT traffic safety news releases. Also publishes partner agencies news releases, such as North Dakota Highway Patrol and North Dakota Department of Health.
    • Grand Forks Herald
      • Increased coverage of traffic safety-related stories and news releases.
      • Published editorials in support of Vision Zero.
    • Matt Henson – WDAZ-WDAY News
      • Continues to promote the message of Vision Zero through consistent media coverage.
      • Willing and receptive to cover pedestrian safety, child passenger safety, heatstroke and many other injury prevention-related topics.
  • 2020 Civil Servant Award: This award is for individual(s) who have gone above and beyond to assist or provide information to law enforcement to remove a reckless or impaired driver(s) from the roadway.
    • Vicky Black – Nurse at Essentia Health Fargo
      • Assists Cass County Sheriff’s Office with Standardized Field Sobriety Testing (SFST) classes.
      •  Finds volunteers to aid in the alcohol workshops during the SFST class.

  • 2020 Child Passenger Safety Award This award recognizes the Child Passenger Safety (CPS) technicians and/or instructors for their commitment to child passenger safety through participation in check-up events, public education opportunities, teaching efforts, and dedication to a local, area-wide or state-wide CPS program.
    • Chelsey Schatz – North Dakota Highway Patrol, Watford City
      • Instrumental in scheduling successful monthly car seat checkups for Watford City and encourages local law enforcement to become CPS techs.
      • Demonstrated leadership by teaching the CPS trainings at the Law Academy, organizing and implementing local car seat checkups and becoming a certified CPS instructor.
    • Harlan Brekke – Grafton, ND
      • At 68 years old (2004), Harlan was one of the first EMTs from Valley Ambulance to become certified as a technician and he inspired others in the department and community to do the same.
      • At 83 years old, Harlan continues to renew his CPS technician certification every other year and routinely helps with quarterly car seat check-up events in the Grafton community.
    • Kallie Christianson – Cavalier, ND
      • A nurse with the Pembina County Public Health Department who became a CPS technician in 2013.
      • Has helped set up and conduct car seat check-up events in communities such as Walhalla, Drayton, and Langdon.
  • 2020 Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) Officer of the Year: This award recognizes the officer who excels in conducting DRE evaluations and creating awareness to their peers and community about the dangers of drug use and drugged driving.
    • Officer Caleb Korb – Fargo Police Department
      • 14 drug evaluations
      • 6 training drug evaluations
      • Certified Drug Recognition Expert Instructor

  • 2020 Traffic Safety Officer of the Year: This award honors the officer who displayed significant contributions to traffic safety through enforcement, training, and education for the past year.
    • Officer Joseph Petersen – Bismarck Police Department
      • 1 drug arrest
      • 27 arrests for suspended/revoked license violations
      • 13 other misdemeanor arrests
      • 47 distracted driving citations
      • 144 safety belt and child restraint citations
      • 692 other traffic violation citations

  • Infrastructure Individual of the Year – This award recognizes an individual who has made outstanding contributions to promote or implement safety improvements or programs on North Dakota’s state or local road system.
    • Jack Kolberg – Sustainable Safety Solutions

  • Infrastructure Program of the Year: This award recognizes a program that has made a difference within an organization’s agency, community or the state by implementing or improving safety regarding transportation-related infrastructure.
    • Mark Wolter – No-Zone Presentation, ND Motor Carrier Association

  • Infrastructure Project of the Year: This award recognizes a project that improves safety in an area regarding transportation-related infrastructure.
    • Houston Engineering, Inc. – University Drive Reconstruction & I-94 Ramp Revisions

Join the mission of Vision Zero to eliminate fatalities and serious injuries caused by motor vehicle crashes in North Dakota by becoming part of the Vision Zero Partner Network.