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Awarding the top cops

Marsha Masters, president of Mothers Against Drunk Driving of Kitsap County, isn’t sure how many lives are saved with each DUI arrest, but she knows it’s a lot.

And that’s why MADD is honoring the law enforcement officers from each agency in Kitsap County who made the most DUI arrests in 2004. The annual awards ceremony is Friday, July 29, in Presidents Hall at the Kitsap County Fairgrounds. The doors will open at 6 p.m. and the program begins at 6:30 p.m.

“It’s what MADD is all about, the first part of our mission is to stop drunk driving,” Masters said. “They’re getting the drunks off the road, they’re saving lives.”

Washington State Patrol Trooper Ron Kessler made an area-high 84 DUI arrests last year, closely trailed by Trooper Rod Green’s 82.

“That’s 166 people that have been saved,” she said.

This year’s guest speaker is Dr. Ernie Franz, a former emergency room physician, who was struck by a car driven by an underaged drunk driver as he was riding his bicycle on Bainbridge Island last summer.

“He’s a survivor, he lived to tell his story, it’s an amazing story,” Masters said. “He was an ER doctor and now he can never be an ER doctor again. Officers and the community need to hear this story.”

The Kitsap County Prosecutor’s Office and local community groups also are being honored for their efforts in supporting MADD. The ceremony will conclude with a candlelight vigil to honor those who have been injured or killed by drunk drivers.

“We appreciate all these officers so much, even the ones who only had one or two arrests,” Masters said.

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