MADD New Jersey honors 80 Bergen police officers
On Thursday 6th June, a ceremony was held by MADD NJ (Mothers Against Drunk Driving, New Jersey Chapter) in which Fort Lee Police Officers Christina Blue, Carlos Cabrera and Tom Keelen were honored. They were among approximately 7 dozen cops from Bergen County.
Every year, MADD honors officers nominated for recognition by police departments all around the state. Tim Ford, Fort Lee Deputy Police Chief said that it’s the 2nd time all three were recognized for their dedication and struggle of keeping the roads safe and keeping drunk drivers off the roads. They received special distinction at the annual event among a group of 80 cops from Bergen County in which 5 from Hackensack and 6 from New Milford are included.
MADD Volunteer Victim Advocate Maria Esteves said, “Most of us have lost somebody to a drunk driver. It’s personal to us to say thank you to these dedicated officers. It’s important for them to how much they are appreciated. They save lives every day”. Esteves’s own 8-year-old daughter was hit and killed by a vehicle driven by a drunk driver.
At the event at Middlesex County College in Edison, the number of officers who were recognized from all over New Jersey was 512 and the number of New Jersey State troopers was 69. Maria Esteve told that all of the police officers were nominated for recognition by their individual police departments. Palisades Interstate Parkway Officer Raymond Walter was honored for “his commitment to bettering the MADD organization” and for designing the award received by the honorees. Those cops who were not recognized went to Washington, D.C., to receive the prestigious TOP COPS Award.
“This is the caliber of officer we have here in New Jersey. Even someone who’s made only one DUI arrest the past year has contributed to making us all safer,” said Esteves.
33 years ago, MADD started working in California. New Jersey’s all-volunteer group holds talks, comforts grieving families and advocates for tough enforcement of driving while intoxicated (DWI) and driving under the influence (DUI) laws. A MADD volunteer, Minister Robert Nulmann, told the officers, “Without you out there enforcing the drunk driving laws that we fight for, all of our efforts are really fruitless. You are the best hope that we have to make a difference. Without you enforcing, without you preventing, without you protecting, we are nothing. That is why we are so grateful to you”.