Ceres police officers and a police clerk were among those from Central Valley law enforcement recognized by the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS), National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) at a luncheon held at the Ripon Community Center.
The honors were for their outstanding contributions to help stop the crime of driving under the influence during the 2012 calendar year.
Two Ceres police officers were honored for making a large number of DUI arrests over the one-year period. Officer James Riley made 52 arrests and Officer Christopher Melton made 54 arrests. Both men were presented with plaques, challenge coins, and "23152" pins to affix to their uniforms. The California Vehicle Code section for driving under the influence is 23152 and the pin is red in color to symbolize MADD's mission: to represent the victims of impaired driving crashes and specifically for peace officers, to memorialize and honor those officers who have been injured and killed in impaired driving collisions.
Both recipients of 23152 pins are currently assigned to patrol. Riley has been with Ceres Police since January 2011 and is a member of the SWAT team. Melton joined the department in October 2004.
Ceres Police Records Clerk Lilia Franco was also honored at the event with a special award for her contributions to making the Avoid the 12 program a success. In addition to performing her daily duties as a Records Clerk II for the Ceres Police Department, she also has taken the lead on the collection and organization of crime statistics to include traffic and DUI matters. She diligently keeps herself updated on the different grants, requirements, and enforcement statistics requested of the department annually by different organizations like the California Highway Patrol and OTS. Lilia makes special files for the specific statistics and personally tracks the statistics to ensure accuracy. On several occasions, Lilia has had to search through hundreds of reports and hand count statistics to meet the demand of specifically requested data that was not previously being tracked. According to Ceres Police Chief Art deWerk, Lilia has done this many times with short notice and has stayed hours past her allotted shift to meet reporting deadlines.
She maintains an organized collection of archived and current department statistics for department use.