APD, Capt. McKichan receive awards

Published 11:00am Thursday, May 23, 2013

For its hard efforts in the state’s Toward Zero Deaths traffic campaign, the Austin Police Department has received some recognition, along with a piece of state-of-the-art radar equipment.

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety awarded the Austin Police Department with a Kustom ProLaser III handheld speed detection device, which better allows officers to target speeding vehicles and receive constant updates on a target’s speed.

“The Austin Police Department will be better equipped to identify vehicles driving at illegal and unsafe speeds,” said Police Chief Brian Krueger. “The ProLaser III is a tool that will help make our community safer.”

Furthermore, DPS law enforcement liason Scott McConkey personally awarded Austin Police Capt. Dave McKichan with a Toward Zero Deaths pin, as McKichan organizes that campaign on the local level.

“Your captain has done an incredible job,” McConkey said.

McKichan said APD and the Mower County Sheriff’s Office collaborate on local Toward Zero Deaths campaign and during Click it or Ticket seatbelt enforcement waves; therefore, both departments will be able to share the new radar equipment. While traffic stops may not be the most glorious law enforcement work, McKichan said, their importance can’t be understated as they encourage seatbelt use and save lives. Agencies can track death totals, but they can’t track lives saved.

“Saving a life is different,” McKichan said, “because you never know you did it.”

While traffic deaths have decreased in the area, McKichan said there is more work to be done locally because seatbelt use is lagging compared to other parts of the state.

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