By Joey May

Bob Hamilton with KDOT recognized Brown County Sheriff John Merchant (left) at Monday’s county meeting with the AAA Kansas Community Traffic Safety Platinum Award.

The Brown County Sheriff’s Office was recognized by the Kansas Department of Transportation at Monday morning’s Brown County Commission meeting.

Bob Hamilton, law enforcement liaison for KDOT, presented Sheriff John Merchant with the AAA Kansas Community Traffic Safety Platinum Award for his department’s work in 2019.

Hamilton told the commissioners he works with AAA Kansas to identify deserving law enforcement agencies and encourage them to apply for AAA for consideration, based on their work. This award is provided by AAA Kansas to encourage communities to address local traffic safety issues in a coordinated and cost-effective way.

“As Brown County Commissioners I want to thank you for the support you provide the sheriff to make his department one of only 13 sheriff departments in Kansas to qualify for a 2019 AAA award,” Hamilton said. “Without your support the sheriff couldn’t do a good job keeping your community safe.”

Hamilton said Brown County is one of 13 sheriff’s offices in the state receiving this award and noted this is the sixth year that Brown County received the award and the third year for the “Platinum Award” — which is the highest level AAA bestows, for demonstrating superior, sustained efforts in addressing local traffic safety issues.

Sheriff John Merchant received the award and said he was very appreciative of the recognition and couldn’t do all of the programs without Hamilton and the support of KDOT.

The Sheriff’s Office was recognized for a variety of activities and programs, including:

Working with Hiawatha and Horton high schools in the SAFE seat belt usage program; along with other educational programs such as child passenger seat training, “teen lifesaver” and winter driving initiatives with the high schools and the AAA Driver Improvement classes.

Participating in an area Traffic Safety Committee

Having a policy requiring employee seat belt use

Taking part in national Night Out neighborhood events and Trick-or-Treat Safety night

Delivering rural Brown County safety alerts and messages to residents

Hosting a Babysitting Clinic, providing training and education on occupant protection and first aid

Delivering school bus evacuation training at Hiawatha schools

Providing Operation Lifesaver efforts to upgrade training on railroad crossing and enforcement

Holding a DEA drug takeback event

Holding Digital Citizenship event at Horton High School on proper use of cell phones and dangers of texting and driving.

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