ANAHEIM, Calif. (June 2, 2017) — The Southern California MADD chapter honored hundreds of law enforcement officers today from Orange County, San Diego County, Riverside and San Bernardino at a luncheon and awards ceremony held at the Business Expo Center on Anaheim Way.
“The people in this room account for 16,366 arrests last year,” said Robert Cox, program manager, MADD Southern California. He added that this is the first year the banquet was consolidated with all four counties. Past awards banquets were held separately in each county.
Fourteen police officers were given the 2017 Century Award for making 100 or more DUI arrests in 2016 and four officers were given Double Century Awards for more than 200 arrests.
Five prosecutors also received awards for going behind the call of duty to hold DUI drivers accountable for their actions by convicting them of their crimes.
“It’s always been very important for us to show our appreciation for our public agencies who are partners in eliminating drunk driving,” said Pat Rillera, executive director of the Southern California chapter.
Officer Daniel O’Neil-Tennant of the Orange Police department was of the four police officers honored as Top DUI Arresting Offices in their respective counties by MADD. O’Neil-Tennant made 273 arrests for drunk driving in 2016. The others awarded in this category were Deputy Juan Andrade with DUI 148 arrests for the Riverside Sheriff’s Department in Moreno Valley; Officer Michael Gissel with 214 DUI arrests for the Fontana Police Department; and Officer Raul Naranjo with 138 DUI arrests for the Chula Vista Police Department.
Attorney James Johnson, founder of Johnson Attorneys Group, was given a Community Hero Award Friday afternoon by the Southern California Region of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).
“It’s an honor to play a small role in this great work,” said Johnson, a personal injury attorney and longtime supporter of MADD. “I’m honored to stand before all of you. The real heroes.”
Additionally, the MADD Community Hero Award was presented to Officer Sharif Muzayen of the Orange Police Department. Muzayen was struck by a drunken driver while on duty and suffered a severe leg injury. He was given a standing ovation has he slowly made his way up to the podium to accept his award.
“You never think it’s going to happen to you,” Muzayen said, adding a warning to the police officers in attendance “be mindful when you do your work.”
During the luncheon, Nina Walker spoke about the tragic loss of her 22-year-old daughter Ginger Walker more than a decade ago. Walker says she has raised her daughter’s son since her life was taken in a DUI crash.
“First there’s the crash and then there is the devastating impact that follows,” said Walker, adding that her grandson was 3 years old at the time of the crash and is now 19 and attending college. “I joined MADD to make a difference. I detest the reason why I became involved.”
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