The Charles County Sheriff's Office was recently recognized for its efforts to enforce seatbelt and child safety seat laws during the 17th annual Maryland Chiefs' Challenge, a competition sponsored by the Maryland Chiefs of Police Association. This is the eighth consecutive year the Sheriff's Office has received the prestigious award.
The competition's main objective is to educate the public about the lifesaving and injury-preventing benefits of safety belt and child safety seat use. Between April 5 and June 5, law enforcement agencies from around Maryland took part in the highly publicized and competitive law enforcement campaign that began 17 years ago.
"Enforcing Maryland's seatbelt and child safety seat laws is a priority for the Charles County Sheriff's Office because we know seatbelts and safety seats reduce the risk of death and injury in a crash," said Charles County Sheriff Frederick E. Davis. "Chiefs' Challenge gives us an opportunity to increase our enforcement efforts and our educational campaigns. It has been especially important for us this year, given the record-breaking number of traffic fatalities we've seen in our County."
Lt. John Caywood, commander of the Community Services Section, Sgt. Hoover Thompson, supervisor of the Traffic Operations Unit, and PFC Robert Padgett of the Traffic Operations Unit and the Sheriff's Office Chiefs' Challenge coordinator, accepted the award at a banquet held September 19 at the Marriott Hotel in Baltimore.
To be eligible for award consideration, each law enforcement agency is required to document their enforcement efforts with photographs, videos, testimonials and press releases. More than 100 law enforcement agencies participated.
The Traffic Operations Unit actively enforces seatbelt and safety seat laws year-round through checkpoints at various locations throughout the county and talks and presentations to various community groups. During the Chiefs' Challenge competition, Sheriff's officers issued 324 citations for seatbelt and child safety seat violations, up from 268 citations during last year's campaign.
In Maryland, the seatbelt usage rate has climbed from 89 percent last year to 91 percent this year. In Charles County, the rate increased to 93 percent from 88 percent last year.