Citizens Academy Alumni volunteers earn annual MADD award

The Houston Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association No Refusal Team was the recipient of the Mothers Against Drunk Driving’s Community Partner Award at the 14TH Annual Law Enforcement Recognition Awards Ceremony for Harris and Montgomery Counties on July 21 at the Bayou Event Center.

This award is given to a community partner who shows an outstanding dedication to MADD’s Mission within the community. The HCPAAA No Refusal Team has more than 50 volunteers who support the officers during No Refusals.

The eight team leaders are:

Phil Niewald, Mike Einkauf, Clara Pruitt, Charity Strickland, Sonya Potter, Stacy LeBlanc, Chris Perry and Silvia Mauricio.

These folks were nominated for the award as they have demonstrated a consistent and dedicated commitment to supporting all law enforcement officers in Houston and in Harris and Montgomery counties over the years.

The nomination Letter:

For the past 12 years, the HCPAAA has provided food, volunteers and support for our officers working DWI No Refusal Nights. After a couple of years, they took over running the No Refusal Team, which was originally started by one MADD volunteer in 2007. Their dedication over the past 12 years has been infectious and inspiring and the group has grown in strength, numbers and enthusiasm.

When you would think that they couldn’t get any more involved, they rose over and above during COVID and continued to provided food and volunteers to keep supporting our DWI officers when the rest of the world was in lockdown. The motto was, “If the officers are continuing to work, we can continue to support them.”

And to top it off, when MADD was unable to provide an LER for the officers last year due to COVID, the No Refusal Team prepared a “Together We Give Thanks” dinner in November 2020 at the HPD Intox/Gym facility. Over 240 officers and family members attended the dinner that was hosted by 50-plus HCPAAA volunteers who purchase, prepared, set up and served an amazing dinner, including desserts, as well as special treats and gifts.

They also purchased frames for each certificate they handed out. It was a wonderful event. The officers appreciated the chance to socialize with their colleagues and include their families in the fun.

In the last two years alone, this dynamic group has worked No Refusal Nights with officers from HPD, HCSO, DPS, Constable Precincts 1, 4, 5 and 8, HCTRA, Jersey Village, LaPorte and Pasadena PDs.

They also volunteer at numerous Wet Labs for the HPD cadets, HPD Lake Patrol, Pasadena PD and Texas Parks and Wildlife.

The HCPAAA No Refusal Team consistently volunteers and supports the efforts of MADD, including Walk Like MADD and handing out MADD information at community events.

As a member of the MADD Advisory Board, I took great pleasure in nominating these great volunteers for this high honor.