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Lt. Rushing, his wife, Oralia, and Chief Howell
Lt. Rushing, his wife, Oralia, and Chief Jim Howell

First Place - State Traffic Officer of the Year 2001-2002

Lt. Mike Rushing, a 32-year veteran of the Florida Highway Patrol, is committed to educating the public on traffic safety issues. From January through July 2002, he conducted approximately 61 traffic safety programs for schools, businesses, and civic groups on a wide variety of topics such as seat belt use, child restraints, DUI, underage drinking, and aggressive driving. Lt. Rushing, along with several certified child passenger safety technicians in his troop, was responsible for the distribution of more than 200 child safety seats to Florida’s needy children through FHP’s successful Child Passenger Safety (CPS) Program. In addition, Lt. Rushing is currently working to expand the CPS program in his area in a partnership with Manatee County Medical Services and the Manatee Sheriff’s Office.

Over the course of the past three years, Lt. Rushing has been the driving force behind the implementation of strategies to reduce traffic fatalities in Manatee County. These strategies included aggressive enforcement of traffic laws, which resulted in 1473 arrests, including 339 DUI arrests, in a six-month period. As a result of these enforcement actions, coupled with the fact that 3 troopers were assigned to a special DUI task force from 7:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m., Manatee County experienced a reduction in fatal crashes from 59 traffic deaths in 2001 to 43 traffic deaths in 2002.

2nd Place - State Traffic Officer of the Year 2001-2002

Serving as Troop G’s Occupant Protection Specialist, Trooper Dawn Tomlinson, a twenty-year veteran with FHP, has been instrumental in developing and implementing a highly successful child passenger safety program throughout the seven northeastern counties of the state in Troop G. In 2002, Trooper Tomlinson conducted over 175 safety presentations to over 16,000 citizens. In an effort to promote the state’s $2 Difference Program, Trooper Tomlinson created a poster demonstrating proper installation and use of child safety seats for parents, and regularly works to ensure the success of this donation program. As a Nationally Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician, Trooper Tomlinson installed over 700 child safety seats and 1000 booster seats for Florida’s needy families last year. In addition, Trooper Tomlinson volunteers on her off duty time, as well as assisting with child safety seat checks and installations for the St. Johns County Tax Collector’s Office as a service to the public.

3rd Place - State Traffic Officer of the Year 2001-2002

Trooper Daniel Caulk, a two and one half year veteran of FHP, has demonstrated his strong commitment to highway safety in his aggressive and proactive enforcement efforts, which have resulted in over 520 traffic arrests, including 20 arrests for drug violations. Trooper Caulk, who is also a Nationally Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician for Troop B, is a dedicated member of the Patrol who continues to exemplify public service on a daily basis, and spends much of his off-duty time volunteering to help others in his community. The Florida Highway Patrol is very proud of all of its winners!


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