Toward Zero Deaths announces award winners at state conference in St. Paul
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Ten individuals and organizations were recognized by Minnesota Toward Zero Deaths at the statewide TZD conference Oct. 26-27 for their efforts to reduce the number of traffic deaths and serious injuries in the state. More than 900 traffic safety professionals attended this year’s TZD conference in St. Paul.
The awards are given annually to individuals or organizations in Minnesota who show excellence in TZD’s emphasis areas of enforcement, emergency medical and trauma services, education, engineering, child passenger safety and judicial/court systems. They have shown their leadership and creative capacities in efforts to improve traffic safety throughout the state and also build partnerships with others in the field.
Twin Cities Metro area award winners are:
- Child Passenger Safety Star Award – Julie Philbrook, Hennepin County Medical Center
- Distinguished Public Leadership Award – David Bernstein, DWI Task Force and Minneapolis Attorney
- Education Star Award – Vijay Dixit, Shreya R. Dixit Foundation
- Media Star Award – Tim Harlow, Star Tribune
- Traffic Safety Innovation Award – KARE 11 and Federated Insurance #EyesUp Campaign
Greater Minnesota award winners are:
- Emergency and Trauma Services Star Award – James Kroona, Willmar Ambulance EMT
- Enforcement Star Award – Lieutenant Brad Norland, Minnesota State Patrol
- Engineering Star Award – Rick West, Otter Tail County Engineer
- Judicial and Court System Star Award – Detective Matt Grochow, St. Peter Police Department
- Kathy Swanson Outstanding Service Award – James Dehn, Tenth Judicial District Court
Child Passenger Safety Star Award
- Julie Philbrook, a registered nurse at Hennepin County Medical Center, has been an active voice for the safety of children on roadways for more than 25 years. She has managed numerous child passenger and teen safety projects, checked thousands of car seats and taught others in this field throughout her career.
Distinguished Public Leadership Award
- David Bernstein, DWI Task Force chair and Minneapolis attorney, recently spearheaded the effort to have the Legislature pass an enforcement bill. After the bill containing a statute to recognize the now-required use of warrants for blood and urine tests nearly died in the legislative process, it was passed due to the task force’s diligent work.
Education Star Award
- Vijay Dixit, traffic safety advocate and founder of the Shreya R. Dixit Memorial Foundation, encourages communities to adopt distraction-free driving as part of a healthy lifestyle. He works to prevent traffic-related crashes by emphasizing that distracted driving is a behavior issue that can be addressed through positive influence.
Media Star Award
- Tim Harlow, Minneapolis Star Tribune reporter, produces traffic safety stories weekly through his column “The Drive” and champions TZD messages from many angles. Harlow’s stories range from traffic impacts of highway construction projects, law enforcement campaigns and the dangers of distracted driving and speeding. He authors objective and accurate stories, which are an asset to the cause of traffic safety in the state.
Traffic Safety Innovation Award
- KARE 11 TV News and Federated Insurance partnered to launch the #EyesUp Campaign, which highlights the work of distracted driving advocates in Minnesota and important tools and resources being developed to change distracted driving behavior. KARE 11 aired weekly segments surrounding the campaign’s topic and encouraged viewers to continue the conversation on their social media platforms using the hashtag #EyesUp.
Emergency and Trauma Services Star Award
- James Kroona, Willmar Ambulance emergency medical technician and part of Southwest EMS, has been a TZD coalition member in Kandiyohi County for seven years. He worked countless traffic safety hours and contributes to traffic safety enforcement waves and other initiatives within his community.
Enforcement Star Award
- Lieutenant Brad Norland, Minnesota State Patrol, contributes to public safety through his involvement in community education, proactive enforcement and group leadership skills. He builds relationships with the public and encourages and mentors troopers and allied agency members to increase their enforcement efforts to further the TZD mission.
Engineering Star Award
- Rick West, Otter Tail County Engineer, is a champion of county roadway safety in Minnesota. West’s efforts in advocating for safety planning fostered the delivery of a County Roadway Safety Plan in every Minnesota county. His dedication to roadway safety is shown by his connections with people and agencies across the nation focused on making our roadways safer.
Judicial and Court System Star Award
- Detective Matt Grochow, St. Peter Police Department, works in the Brown, Nicollet and Watonwan counties’ alcohol and drug courts as a community compliance agent. He also serves as the outreach technician for the 5th Judicial District Ignition Interlock Grant Program. His efforts in these roles result in keeping roads safe from impaired drivers.
Kathy Swanson Outstanding Service Award
- Judge James Dehn, 10th Judicial District Court in Isanti County, was the first judge in the nation to put multiple repeat DUI offenders on the home pretrial electronic alcohol-monitoring program in 1993. His innovative pre-trial and sentencing techniques gained national attention and coverage from many publications. Today, Isanti County ranks number one in the state in the reduction of DUI arrests, with a decrease of more than 65 percent in the last seven years. Dehn retired in June.
The Minnesota TZD program is an interdisciplinary partnership with the state departments of Health, Transportation and Public Safety. This collaboration began 14 years ago and has worked to reduce roadway fatalities by nearly half.
Learn more about TZD, including a full list of award recipients, at www.minnesotatzd.org.