East central AAA salutes Punxsy PD with highest honor

PUNXSUTAWNEY — The Punxsutawney Borough Police Department was the recipient of the the American Automobile Association (AAA) East Central’s highest award.

Officers Ryan Miller and Kirk Brudnock traveled to the Four Points Sheraton Hotel in Mars to be recognized by AAA for outstanding service, dedication and the significant impact made by the department for improving the quality of life through its traffic safety program.
This was the fifth consecutive year of being recognized by AAA, said Chief Tom Fedigan.

Fedigan said Miller began the lengthy application process for the recognition in August, outlining the department’s service to the community.

Miller said the department was required to provide statistical evidence of established departmental program efforts, accomplishments and effectiveness and their impacts to the community.

The Punxsy department presented a five-year statistical trend of reduced traffic collisions, which was the direct result of the proactive approaches the department has taken through a variety of enforcement and educational initiatives, Miller said.

“Our department has made substantial steps torward addressing pedestrian safety, DUI offenses, motor carrier enforcement, aggressive driving infractions and seat belt usage to name a few,” he said.

“This award is an ideal example of the department working in conjunction with Punxsutawney Borough Council and other community leaders to identify and address traffic safety issues in the borough,” Miller said, adding that it’s all too easy for residents to criticize the department’s operations.

Miller said AAA’s Platinum recognition highlights the department’s continued successes and is really something for the community to appreciate.

Fedigan said when he heard the news that the department was awarded the Platinum Award, he couldn’t have been happier, as in the previous years, it received the AAA Gold award.

“This past year, we set our sights high with hopes we could win AAA’s most prestigious honor,” he said. “It’s a true testament of how hard the officers at Punxsy PD work.

“They don’t just give these awards away,” Fedigan said. “It takes a lot of dedication, effort and long hours on the officers’ parts to meet the criteria set to receive such an honor.”

Brudnock said AAA’s recognition is a great thing.

“Police work is generally a thankless career, and it says a lot for a well-established organization such as AAA to bestow its gratitude for our hard work and effort,” he said.

Fedigan congratulated all the officers who helped the department to obtain the award: Miller, the project coordinator; Brudnock, Jeff Winfield, Heath Zeitler, Frank Wittenburg, Pat Renwick, Kevin Porada, Jason Aharrah and John Brown.