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Sheriff Groves and Deputy Noel Both Receive 2014 State Awards


Sheriff Groves and another man standing together holding yellow signs 4 men, including Sheriff Groves, standing behind a table on a stage Sheriff Groves standing with 5 others holding yellow signs



Earlier today, at the 20th Annual Kansas Transportation Safety Conference in Topeka, Sheriff David Groves and Deputy Justin Noel were both honored by joining 4 other Kansas’ who received the 2014 Going Above and Beyond: People Saving People Award during a luncheon ceremony at the Topeka Capital Plaza.

Sheriff Groves had been nominated by Dave Corp, a member of the Kansas Department of Transportation, who has worked alongside area law enforcement agencies for several years.

The award announcement for Sheriff Groves read, “Sheriff David Groves – Cherokee County: Too infrequently we find law enforcement administrators who consistently take actions to improve the traffic safety culture in their jurisdictions. Sheriff Groves’ every day approach is to improve the quality of life in his county. He identified problems, unsafe stretches of roadways – then developed an action plan. He was instrumental in moving all four high schools in Cherokee County toward participation in SAFE (Seatbelts Are For Everyone). Bottom line: not one teen has been lost to a traffic fatality since 2010. His department stepped up enforcement for restraint violations – in 2008 and 2009, no violations were issued, then in 2011 there were 119 and in 2012 there were 102. Because of aggressive training for his deputies, impaired driving arrests rose from 21 in 2008 to 55 in 2012, a 260 percent increase. Sheriff Groves worked with his Cherokee County emergency management to provide free text messaging to residents about road conditions, flash flood warning and road closures. He uses geo-maps to plot crash locations to help enforcement agencies plan their patrol time efficiently and alert motorists when to use extra caution.”

Sheriff Groves had nominated Deputy Noel earlier this year for his creativity and eagerness in working with students in the Columbus School District to help make them safe. Deputy Noel’s award announcement read, “Deputy Justin Noel – School Resource Officer (SRO), USD 493: In the summer of 2013, USD 493 in Columbus was assigned a new SRO to work with the student-led SAFE (Seatbelts Are For Everyone) program. To engage and educate young students on proper seat belt usage, he turned an idea into reality, by creatively reaching out to the local business community and organizations for the necessary funding, and then working with a local auto collision service, the high school and community college to build a seatbelt instructional device. Deputy Noel convinced elementary principals it would be worthwhile for the high school student SAFE committee to use the device at area elementary schools to teach children and faculty how to properly put on seat belts and to reinforce the lifesaving importance of being buckled in. In addition, Deputy Noel used local media to increase community awareness so parents and adults would properly restrain young passengers.”

The awards were presented by Chris Murphy – National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, J. Michael Bowen – Federal Highway Administration and Chris Bortz, Manager of Traffic Safety Section for the Kansas Department of Transportation at the conclusion of the 2 day training conference.


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