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Local officers earn 'Top Gun' award for DUI enforcement
In 2015, rookie West Manheim Township Police Officer Randy Wagner made 32 DUI arrests, which was nearly half of the department's impaired-driving arrests for the year.
Wagner was among 63 police officers statewide to receive "Top Gun" awards on Oct. 27. It's presented by the Pennsylvania DUI Association to officers for their efforts to get impaired drivers off the road.
Wagner is the first West Manheim officer to win the award, according to township Chief Tim Hippensteel.
“It’s awesome. We’re really proud of him; he’s just a wonderful policeman,” Hippensteel said Friday afternoon.
Hippensteel nominated Wagner for the award, and in his nomination letter noted that Wagner's shift varied and included daytime patrols when he wasn't as likely to encounter impaired drivers.
"I'm certain his arrests would be much higher had he been assigned more night shifts," the letter reads.
The chief wrote that in his 30 years with the department, no one has excelled in DUI enforcement like Wagner.
“I think it speaks volumes of the great department we have and our commitment to the community,” Hippensteel said.
According to the chief, this year looks promising for Wagner as well. The officer is once again leading the department in DUI arrests for 2016.
Other recipients: Wagner was one of eight York County law-enforcement officials who earned awards that day.
Southwestern Regional Police Officer Joshua Poplin was given the award for the second time in his career. His DUI arrests were split between his time in two departments, Chief Greg Bean said Friday. Poplin worked for the Hellam Township Police Department before moving to Southwestern in July 2015. The chief estimated Poplin had made more than 50 DUI arrests in 2015.
“You have to have a lot of stick-to-it-iveness and tenacity to be recognized, and certainly he’s all about that,” Bean said.
He said Poplin is constantly looking for the unusual, which led the officer to make more DUI arrests.
"He's just always looking for something out of the ordinary, and a lot of nights he finds it," Bean said.
Northeastern Regional Police Patrolman Scott George also earned a "Top Gun" award. The 15-year veteran of the department had been given the award in past years, according to Chief Bryan Rizzo. George has been trained to detect DUI from not just alcohol, but drugs as well.
“Our fatal accidents have gone down over the past few years," Rizzo said Friday evening. "We attribute that to good DUI enforcement,”
Rizzo said George made 52 DUI arrests in 2015.
Northern York County Regional Police Officers Erika Eiker and Daniel Zimmerman were honored. For the county's state police barracks, Troop H, Trooper Raymond Rutter III, Cpl. Sean Taylor, and Trooper Daniel Weldon were all recognized.
For more information on the Pennsylvania DUI Association, check here.
— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @YDDornblaser.