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YCSO deputy honored by national organization
Deputy Matthew Felix, boating safety officer for the Yuma County Sheriff's Office, has been named the 2013 Mothers Against Drunk Driving Arizona (MADD AZ) Operating Under the Influence (OUI) Officer of the Year.
Founded by a mother whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver, MADD is the nation’s largest nonprofit working to protect families from drunk driving and underage drinking. MADD also supports drunk and drugged driving victims and survivors at no charge, serving one person every eight minutes through local MADD victim advocates and at 1-877-MADD-HELP.
Felix was chosen for the award due to his efforts to remove intoxicated boat operators from the waterways surrounding Yuma.
"It’s an honor," Felix said. "There is a lot of satisfaction in getting impaired operators off the water."
According to the U.S. Coast Guard, alcohol is the leading contributing factor in fatal boating accidents. Felix is well aware of this statistic and actively patrols the waterways of Yuma County to keep them safe.
"I dedicate myself to preventing OUI’s because there are many families including mine that come out to enjoy our waterways in Yuma County and I want them to be safe and enjoyable."
To date, Felix has made four OUI arrests in 2013. In addition, he has made numerous contacts, both on the water and on shore, with people he observes drinking to make sure they are of legal age and not operating a watercraft.
"This number may seem low, but that is due to his vigilance and aggressive stance towards OUIs which have shown a marked decrease over the last year," said Deputy Alfonso Zavala, YCSO public information officer.
Deputy Felix also conducts lectures and classes for various community groups, other county agencies and local military bases about water and boating safety.