During a ceremony Oct. 8 in Gainesville, EPD topped agencies from 16 other counties in the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety MATEN network.
“The reason that we won the award was because of the participation by the officers. We have one, if not two or three, that go every month. We hosted a meeting [in August],” Emerson police chief Stan Bradley said.
The chief noted the officers’ efforts were behind the award.
“Of course, I’m really proud of my guys. They put a lot of hard work into it,” Bradley said. “There’s a lot that goes into it with the reporting; you have to make sure your accident reporting is current and done on time. Same thing with our statistics as far as our traffic enforcement, they record DUIs, seat belt tickets, speeding tickets; all those type things are reported to GOHS among others. All that goes into [the award], then the officers participating in actual meetings and the different type of programs they have.”
With 11 officers in the southern Bartow department, the opportunities for training and networking are a major benefit of the MATEN program.
“No. 1, it really keeps the guys up to date because they get a lot of training on traffic laws, traffic enforcement. DUI laws and everything that goes along with drug enforcement, the laws are pretty complicated, and search and seizure is really complicated. They really have to stay on top of it,” Bradley said. “This program is about networking with other agencies around the state to know what the trends, the drug trafficking, what’s going on. As you know, we are dealing with a lot of methamphetamine that we’ve been dealing with for the last few years, but heroin is moving into our area. That’s the type of things they’ll get together and they’ll discuss and they’ll train on is what to look for.
“... The point is to get these drivers off the street and keep them off the street. There are laws in place to do that.”
Battling speed and distracted driving as two of the biggest dangers on area roadways, Bradley said taking part in MATEN helps the community as well.
“One person getting killed on the highways of the state is intolerable because what if it’s your child, what if it’s your brother, what if it’s your spouse? That’s the key to it. ...
We try to really look at what types of programs and enforcement works on the highways out there,” he said. “The benefit for the community would be that the roadways are going to be safer. Obviously, we put in for grants, and if we get a grant for our community, that helps with the taxpayers.”
MATEN is divided into two sectors: MATEN and MATEN II, which covers Bartow County. Included in the network are Whitfield, Catoosa, Dade, Walker, Murray, Gordon, Bartow, Floyd, Polk, Chattooga, DeKalb, Fulton, Gwinnett, Cobb, Fayette, Clayton and Henry.