The North Central Highway Safety Network, in conjunction with Buckle UP PA and Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) recognized Schuylkill and Carbon county police officers and departments for their dedication and commitment to the PA Aggressive Driving Enforcement and Education Project (PAADEEP) during an awards presentation held Tuesday at the Ambulance Building in Frackville.

The presentation was done in cooperation with the Community Traffic Safety Project and is part of PennDot's Drive Safe PA initiative.

Departments receiving recognition were Ashland, Blythe Township, Butler Township, Minersville, New Castle, Rush Township, St. Clair, Tamaqua, Schuylkill Haven, West Mahanoy Township, West Penn Township and Lehighton.

Officers recognized were Officer Dale Osenbach, West Penn Township Police Department; Patrolman Raymond Tonkinson, Mahanoy Township Police Department; Officer Jeffrey Wainwright, Tamaqua Police Department; Officer Richard Bekesy, Rush Township Police Department; Officer Ronald Romanchik, New Castle Township Police Department; Officer Jason Klouser, Minersville Police Department; Chief Joseph Leskin, Blythe Township Police Department; and Officer Scott Prebosnyak, Lehighton Police Department.

Pennsylvania State Police barracks in Frackville, Schuylkill Haven and Lehighton were also recognized.

Robert Webre, North East Law Enforcement Liaison, praised the agressive driving program, pointing out that local targeted roads have seen a decrease in accidents as high as 50 percent. Carol Alonge, Regional Coordinator, PTSN, North Central Highway Safety Network, stated, "I would say that one of the most effective and profound components of this campaign is the level of cooperation between municipal and state police in Schuylkill and Carbon Counties, not to mention the inter department cooperation."

Rush Township part-time patrolman Richard Bekesy, who issued 789 driving citations last year, pointed out his dedication to the program, adding, "I do this because I want to help and educate people." Alonge stressed, "All the departments and stations have the same goal. To reduce aggressive-driving crashes, injuries and deaths on their municipal, township and other jurisdictional roadways."

The next enforcement wave is planned for July 11 to August 28. Alonge added, "It's both a pleasure and an honor to work with such dedicated professionals."