A Southold police officer was one of 22 honored this week for making the most DWI arrests in Suffolk County.
Southold Town Police Officer Rory Flatley was among the group honored by Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, along with Legislators Sarah Anker, Kate Browning, Kara Hahn, SCPD Chief James Burke and Assistant Deputy County Executive Tim Sin at the Suffolk County Police Academy on Tuesday.
And for Southold Town Police Chief Martin Flatley, the ceremony was a proud moment, as he watched his son receive recognition. “I am very proud of my son, PO Rory Flatley, who was awarded the Top Cop award for the second year in a row for having the most DWI arrests for our department,” he said.
“This designation is very important as we feel the DWI arrests our officers make are directly related to saving lives of the motoring public in our township. PO Rory Flatley exemplifies our commitment to making our roadways safer by his dedication to enforcing the DWI laws of New York State throughout the year for our department at a high pace.”
One sheriff was honored with the Top Cop award after making 143 arrests this year.
The Suffolk County STOP-DWI program — Special Traffic Options Program for Driving While Intoxicated — is a comprehensive program designed to reduce the incidence of alcohol-related traffic fatalities and injuries in New York State.
In Suffolk County, the program is supported 100 percent by fines collected from those convicted of drug or alcohol related charges.
“These officers have saved hundreds of lives by making DWI a priority and arresting those individuals who make the irresponsible decision to drink and drive,” Bellone said.
Suffolk County police agencies, he added, have made over 3,800 arrests in 2014 and more than 14,000 DWI arrests in the past three years.
“Suffolk County will not tolerate drunk driving on our roadways. We remain committed to arresting anyone who chooses to drink and then get behind the wheel of a car, endangering the lives of others,” he said.
In 2014, 45 people were killed in Suffolk County by drunk drivers. However, since 2012, Suffolk County has experienced a 25 percent decline in arrests and a 25 percent decline in fatalities.
“I’m honored to recognize the brave men and women of law enforcement for their service in getting impaired drivers off our roads and keeping our community safe,” Legislator Sarah Anker said.
Legislator Kara Hahn added that the police officers “prevent heartbreaking tragedies and save lives. Drunk driving is a pervasive public safety concern in Suffolk County. We are fortunate to have these officers who are so dedicated to making our roadways safer for pedestrians and motorists.”
Losing a friend to a drunk driver 16 years ago, leaving the woman’s husband and two school-aged daughters without a wife and mother, Legislator Kate Browning said, meant the message struck a personal chord. “They have missed out on so much of their mother’s involvement in their lives,” she said. “I would like to congratulate and thank the police officers who were recognized today for their outstanding work for keeping our roads safe from individuals who drive while impaired under the influence of drugs or alcohol.”
Also recognized was Officer Timothy Murphy of the Riverhead Police Department and Officer Christopher Drake of the Shelter Island Town Police Department.