Chief Ken Howes or
Florida Highway Patrol
For Immediate Release:
TALLAHASSEE: Lieutenant Mike Rushing, Public Affairs Officer for Troop F-Bradenton, has been named as the First Place Winner of the Institute of Police Technology’s (IPTM) State Traffic Officer of the Year. The award was presented on Wednesday, January 15th at the Florida Police Chiefs Conference in St. Augustine. The IPTM, in conjunction with the Florida Department of Transportation’s State Safety Office, annually recognizes individuals in Florida law enforcement who make a difference by going above and beyond the call of duty in the area of traffic safety.
Lt. 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.