Spinal Column: Police Week honors those who keep us safe

Sen. Mike Kowall

Sen. Mike Kowall

By Sen. Mike Kowall
15th Senate District

In addition to upholding our state and federal constitutions, one of my top priorities as a Michigan senator is to help enact laws that ensure the safety of residents of the 15th Senate District and the entire state.

Because protecting fellow Michiganders is an important part of my job, I have the utmost respect for those whose entire jobs consist of keeping us safe: our police officers.

In the United States today, more than 900,000 law enforcement officers put their lives on the line for the safety and protection of others.

These officers serve with valor and distinction — and with great success. Federal statistics show that violent and property crime rates in the United States are at historic lows, thanks in large measure to the dedicated service of the men and women of law enforcement.

That protection comes at a price, however. Each year, there are approximately 60,000 assaults on law enforcement officers, resulting in nearly 16,000 injuries. Sadly, over the last decade, an average of 146 officers a year have been killed in the line of duty. And throughout U.S. history, more than 20,000 law enforcement officers have made the ultimate sacrifice.

More recently, there have been 44 police fatalities in the United States from Jan. 1 through May 1, an increase of 29 percent from the same time last year. In Detroit, eight police officers have been shot or killed in the line of duty in the past eight months.

Police officers have one of the most difficult jobs imaginable, and they deserve our honor and respect. In 1962, President Kennedy signed a proclamation designating May 15 as Peace Officers Memorial Day and the week in which that date falls as Police Week. This year, Police Week runs from Sunday, May 14 to Saturday, May 20.

Each year, tens of thousands of law enforcement officers from around the world converge on Washington, D.C. to participate in a number of planned events honoring those who have given their lives protecting us.

This year’s events included the 36th Annual National Peace Officers’ Memorial Service, held on Monday at the U.S. Capitol; and the National Police Survivors Conference and C.O.P.S. Kids/Teens event, held Tuesday. This second event allowed surviving family members and co-workers more opportunities to learn about coping and grief, and to build important social connections. Various activities were provided to young children and teens of fallen officers.

We must do all that we can to support our police brothers and sisters, to help reduce the senseless violence that too often takes their lives, and to help ensure that their lives have not been in vain.

Police Week grants us time to reflect on, support and honor the service and sacrifice of our law enforcement officers. Here in Michigan and in Oakland County, take some time to thank your local police officers for all they do to keep us safe. To learn more, visit policeweek.org.

This column first appeared in the Spinal Column newsweekly. Senator Mike Kowall, R-White Lake, is the Michigan Senate majority floor leader. He serves the residents of the 15th Senate District, representing western Oakland County.

Oakland Press: Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over

Sen. Mike Kowall

Sen. Mike Kowall

By Sen. Mike Kowall
15th Senate District

Labor Day weekend is less than three weeks away. While for many of us this is the last opportunity to enjoy a Pure Michigan summer before the fall routine sets in, it also represents one of the deadliest times of the year for drunken driving fatalities.

Research shows that high-visibility enforcement can reduce these deaths by as much as 20 percent. That is why the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is once again partnering with law enforcement nationwide during the 2017 “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign.

The initiative runs from Aug. 16 through Labor Day, Sept. 4. Local law enforcement agencies across Michigan will team up with state agencies and NHTSA to step up enforcement of drunken driving laws.

Drunken driving remains a serious safety epidemic nationwide and here in Michigan. Last year, more than 38 percent of the fatal crashes statewide involved alcohol and/or drugs.

Every day, almost 300,000 people drive drunk. In 2012, 29.1 million people — more than the population of Texas — admitted to driving under the influence of alcohol.

This is not just reckless behavior. It is criminal and deadly. It results on average in the deaths of 10,000 people nationwide each year. About one in five of these fatalities will be children 14 and younger.

These somber statistics should remind us all that it is never ok to drink and drive. If you’ve been drinking, designate a sober driver or plan to use public transportation to get home safely.

NHTSA has created the SaferRide mobile app available on Google Play and Apple’s iTunes Store. SaferRide allows users to call a taxi or a predetermined friend, and it identifies the user’s location so he or she can be picked up.

There is no excuse for driving under the influence. During this year’s campaign — and year-round — remember: Drive sober, or get pulled over.

For more information about the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign or to download the SaferRide app, visit nhtsa.gov/drivesober.

This column appeared in the Oakland Press. Senator Mike Kowall, R-White Lake, is the Michigan Senate majority floor leader. He serves the residents of the 15th Senate District, representing western Oakland County.

Spinal Column: Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over

Sen. Mike Kowall

Sen. Mike Kowall

By Sen. Mike Kowall
15th Senate District

Labor Day weekend is less than three weeks away. While for many of us this is the last opportunity to enjoy a Pure Michigan summer before the fall routine sets in, it also represents one of the deadliest times of the year for drunken driving fatalities.

Research shows that high-visibility enforcement can reduce these deaths by as much as 20 percent. That is why the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is once again partnering with law enforcement nationwide during the 2017 “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign.

The initiative runs from Aug. 16 through Labor Day, Sept. 4. Local law enforcement agencies across Michigan will team up with state agencies and NHTSA to step up enforcement of drunken driving laws.

Drunken driving remains a serious safety epidemic nationwide and here in Michigan. Last year, more than 38 percent of the fatal crashes statewide involved alcohol and/or drugs.

Every day, almost 300,000 people drive drunk. In 2012, 29.1 million people — more than the population of Texas — admitted to driving under the influence of alcohol.

This is not just reckless behavior. It is criminal and deadly. It results on average in the deaths of 10,000 people nationwide each year. About one in five of these fatalities will be children 14 and younger.

These somber statistics should remind us all that it is never ok to drink and drive. If you’ve been drinking, designate a sober driver or plan to use public transportation to get home safely.

NHTSA has created the SaferRide mobile app available on Google Play and Apple’s iTunes Store. SaferRide allows users to call a taxi or a predetermined friend, and it identifies the user’s location so he or she can be picked up.

There is no excuse for driving under the influence. During this year’s campaign — and year-round — remember: Drive sober, or get pulled over.

For more information about the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign or to download the SaferRide app, visit nhtsa.gov/drivesober.

This column first appeared in the Spinal Column newsweekly. Senator Mike Kowall, R-White Lake, is the Michigan Senate majority floor leader. He serves the residents of the 15th Senate District, representing western Oakland County.