ELLSWORTH, Maine — An officer with the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department has been recognized for his efforts and those of his department to reduce underage alcohol consumption.
Deputy Chris Thornton has received honorable mention from the Maine Office of Substance Abuse for the office’s Law Enforcement Partner of the Year Award, the department announced recently.
Capt. Thomas Roth of the Westbrook Police Department also received honorable mention, while the award went to Cpl. Robert Ullrich of the Lewiston Police Department.
Thornton was recognized for his “persistence in finding the resources necessary to reduce underage drinking” in Hancock County, according to a statement announcing the award. Thornton coordinates the Hancock County Underage Drinking Task Force, which consists of the Sheriff’s Department and police departments in the municipalities of Bar Harbor, Bucksport, Ellsworth, Gouldsboro, Mount Desert and Southwest Harbor.
The award is judged on whether participants meet three of four criteria, which include:
ä Measurable reductions in the availability of alcohol to youth.
ä Innovative program implementation.
ä Training for law enforcement, community and merchants.
ä Recognition by peers, community or the media.
All three officers were recognized for their efforts to share information about underage drinking with other area law enforcement officers and to work with community members and leaders to reduce the effects and frequency of underage drinking.
In addition to Thornton’s award, the Sheriff’s Department has announced it intends to pursue an enforcement crackdown on impaired driving during the Labor Day holiday period.
According to a prepared statement from the Sheriff’s Department, nearly 13,000 people died nationwide in 2007 in automobile crashes in which a driver had a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or higher. The legal limit for drunken driving in Maine is 0.08 percent.
“Drunk driving is simply not worth the risk,” the Sheriff’s Department indicated. “Not only do you risk killing yourself or someone else, but the trauma and financial costs of a crash or an arrest for impaired driving can be significant.”