Rockland County STOP-DWI Honors Top Law Enforcement Officers

There were 939 arrests for Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) in Rockland County in 2011.

The 26 law enforcement officers honored by Rockland Count STOP-DWI Monday morning at the Hilton Pearl River combined to account for one third of those arrests.

“To think of the lives saved by your efforts, I couldn’t begin to quantify it,” said Rockland County District Attorney Tom Zugibe. “There is probably no better crime prevention method than your efforts, to know that you are out there. For the public to know there is a chance of getting caught. These awards are very important…for people to know how effective we are here in Rockland as far as arrest and prosecution of DWI offenders.”

“We are a safer community because of the work of all of our officers, particularly the officers being awarded today,” Rockland County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef said. “We do this annually not just to have a breakfast, but to have the press and public understand how important the work is that you do because we don’t want people dying on our streets.”

Orangetown Police Officer Kirk Vega made 14 DWI arrests in 2011, earning recognition from STOP-DWI for the second consecutive year.

“I appreciate them giving me an award like this,” Vega said. “I do a lot of hard work out there trying to save lives. It is proven that (enforcing DWI laws) saves lives. It is amazing crime prevention. People don’t always see it that way, but it is life-saving to stop these people before they kill somebody.”

Vega was among the 26 officers honored Monday, though many were unable to make it, including STOP-DWI municipal “top cop” Ralph Morales, a Spring Valley Police Officer who made 49 DWI arrests in 2011.

Rockland County STOP-DWI works with law enforcement, treatment professionals and the public to reduce the number of incidents of driving while intoxicated. This includes assisting law enforcement in keeping up with the law regarding DWI and other service training.

“It is a very important thing,” said Ramapo Police Officer Dennis Procter, an educational consultant with STOP-DWI. “You keep people safe out there. I’d like to say thank you for all of the hard work and energy you put in out there. I want to thank our chiefs for supporting their guys and for making sure we have the tools and assets we need to do this job.”

The full list of award recipients is as follows, with the number of DWI arrests in 2011 in parentheses:

•Clarkstown Officer Raymond Laschet (18)
•Ramapo Officer Chris Youngman (13)
•Ramapo Officer Jonathan Quinn (12)
•Ramapo Officer Wayne Mitchell (12)
•Ramapo Officer Jack Kane (11)
•Ramapo Officer Robert Collins (26)
•Spring Valley Officer Brandon King (26)
•Spring Valley Police Officer Khalid Parwanta (15)
•Spring Valley Police Officer Ralph Morales (49)
•Orangetown Police Officer Kirk Vega (14)
•Sherriff’s Patrol Sergeant Albert Brunner (10)
•Sherriff’s Patrol Officer Robert Moger (27)
•Sherriff’s Patrol Detective Brian Welikson (22)
•Sherriff’s Patrol Sergeant Jim Benison (22)
•New York State Police Trooper Paul Catrona (23)
•New York State Police Trooper Shameed Yadali (22)
•New York State Police Trooper Thomas Tierney (18)
•New York State Police Trooper Frank Rose (17)
•New York State Police Trooper Joseph Thies (16)
•New York State Police Trooper Mauro Neri (15)
•New York State Police Trooper Marcin Chrzan (14)
•New York State Police Trooper Ray Hasan (12)
•New York State Police Trooper Dong Kim (11)
•New York State Police Trooper Brian Hoermann (10)
•New York State Police Trooper Brian Hunter (10)
•New York State Park Police Officer George Lodini (14)