(WHBC) – An organization is honoring some local law enforcement officers for their efforts in keeping the roads in Stark County safer to drive on.

Details are in the following news release from Stark County Safe Communities.

Stark County – Each year Stark County Safe Communities, in cooperation with the Ohio Traffic Safety Office, recognizes law enforcement officers in the county who have demonstrated commitment to traffic safety both on and off duty.

Traffic crashes continue to injure and kill thousands of people each year and cost our country billions of dollars. Enforcement of traffic laws go hand in hand with Safe Communities’ educational efforts and is a vital part of reaching our goal to reduce traffic crashes, injuries and fatalities in Stark County.

Stark County Safe Communities feels it is important to recognize all officers who have gone above and beyond in their efforts to promote traffic safety. They face a difficult and sometimes thankless task on a daily basis to help keep our roadways safe for all.

This year’s Stark County Traffic Officer of the Year was sponsored by the Alexander J. Rohr Memorial Fund. Their generous support of this award makes it possible for these outstanding officers to be recognized for their efforts in keeping Stark County roadways safe for everyone.

We are proud to announce Patrol Officer Christopher Wells of Canton Police Department and Deputy Alan Raber of the Stark County Sheriff’s Office as this year’s Traffic Officers of the Year.

Patrol Officer Christopher Wells has worked for Canton Police Department for 6 years. He was nominated by Canton Police Department for his dedication to service and commitment to traffic safety. Officer Wells is a lead re-constructionist for the Canton Metro Crash Team and has trained other members of this team in the art of advanced traffic crash investigation.

He is also an OPOTA SFST and Speed Measuring Device instructor. The Canton Metro Crash Team has handled 22 of the 39 fatal crashes in the county in 2018 and of those 22 crashes, Officer Wells assisted in 18 and was the lead re-constructionist on 10 of them. He spends much of his off-duty time working on crashes to complete them in a timely manner. In addition of Officer Wells’ duties as a shift crash investigator and metro team re-constructionist, he is also the main advisor to the Canton Police Department’s Explorer group. Officer Wells’ dedication to service has made Stark County a safer community.

Deputy Alan Raber has worked for the Stark County Sheriff’s Office for 3 years. He was nominated by the Sheriff’s Office for his commitment and dedication to duty. Deputy Raber’s primary duties consist of responding to calls for service, in which he handled 1800 calls with 107 criminal arrests in 2018. He made 732 traffic stops that included 169 traffic citations in 2018.

Along with his primary duties, he is a regular participant in many traffic safety campaigns including “Click It or Ticket”, Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over and Stark County OVI Task Force checkpoints and saturation patrols. Deputy Raber volunteers many of his own hours to be involved in community safety events which include Trunk or Treat, Take Back the Night, School Bus Safety and Shop with a Sheriff. Deputy Raber also worked Compliance Checks to keep alcohol out of the hands of our youth. Deputy Raber takes seriously his duties to enforce traffic laws, ensuring Stark County roads are safe.

Patrol Officer Ryan C. Mack of Jackson Township Police Department, Deputy Quentin Robinson of the Stark County Sheriff’s Office, Trooper Bryan Sponaugle of Ohio State Highway Patrol and Patrol Officer Zachary Forwalder of North Canton Police Department. are also being recognized with a Certificate of Excellence Award for their commitment to traffic safety in Stark County.

Patrolman Ryan Mack was nominated by the Jackson Township Police Department for his motivation to enforce traffic laws and for his persistence in taking dangerous drivers off the streets in Jackson Township. Officer Mack joined the Jackson Township Police Department in 2016 and has consistently performed at a high level in vehicle stops and arrests each month. His traffic stops resulted in 28 OVI arrests, 198 citations, and drug and firearms charges. Officer Mack’s traffic enforcement actions have greatly increased the safety of residents and travelers in Jackson Township.

Deputy Quentin Robison of the Sheriff’s Office was nominated by the Stark County Engineer’s Office for his commitment to roadway safety. Deputy Robinson has worked with the Sheriff’s Office for 28 years and with the Stark County Engineer’s Office for 7 years. His efforts with the Engineer’s Office have increased permit applications from an average of 80 to well over 800 permits annually. He accomplished this through numerous compliance stops, and frequent educational efforts for the public. His educational efforts range from an informal one-person phone call to a formal presentation to a group of 150 drivers. He covers load securement, weight limits and the permitting process. This education keeps our roads safe, protects our drivers and saves us thousands of dollars on road repairs.

Trooper Bryan Sponaugle has been with the Ohio State Highway Patrol for 11 years. Trooper Sponaugle was nominated by OSHP for his hard work and professionalism he brings to his job. In 2018 Trooper Sponaugle made 669 enforcement stops with 210 seatbelt enforcements and investigated 140 crashes. Trooper Sponaugle participated in 3 OVI Checkpoints and multiple OVI saturation initiatives in Stark County in 2018. During 2018, he initiated 7 criminal investigations and arrests, that included arrests for drugs and firearms. Trooper Sponaugle is active in the Division’s “5 Minutes for Life” program, Tusky Valley “Safety Town” program and “Can A Cruiser” food drive. Trooper Sponaugle was also the Canton Post Trooper of the Year. Trooper Sponaugle not only meets the expectations the Division has for its officers: but he exceeds those expectations daily.

Patrol Officer Zachary Forwalder was nominated by North Canton Police Department for his commitment to traffic safety. As an officer with the North Canton Police Department, Officer Forwalder must balance his time between answering calls, traffic enforcement, patrolling the community and other job responsibilities. Officer Forwalder does this in an exemplary manner. He is always a top performer in traffic enforcement, while still
responding to an above average number of calls. He has made a dedicated effort in safety belt enforcement, second to only one other North Canton officer this year. Officer Forwalder demonstrates a consistent effort in patrolling North Canton neighborhoods.

Patrol Officer Christopher Wells, Deputy Alan Raber, Patrol Officer Ryan Mack, Deputy Quentin Robinson, Trooper Bryan Sponaugle and Patrol Officer Zachary Forwalder will receive their awards at the Stark County Law Enforcement Retirement and Awards Banquet on February 22, 2019. Anyone interested in attending the event can contact Bill Adams of CPPA at 330-495-8873.

Stark County Safe Communities Coalition and our many partners would like to commend these officers and others on our roadways who make traffic safety a priority. They make a difference!