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Retired OSP Sergeant Receives National Award from IACP DRE Section
04/27/2010
Sergeant Michael Iwai
Oregon State Police
Oregon DECP Coordinator
(503) 934-0267

A former Oregon State Police (OSP) Sergeant whose career was cut short after he and two others were struck by a vehicle September 4, 2001 along Interstate 5 north of Albany has been named the recipient of a national award from the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) Drug Recognition Expert Section.
 
The IACP Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) Section selects former certified DRE who has served the Drug Evaluation and Classification Program (DECP) with honor and the highest integrity. Either through retirement or job promotion, those considered for the award are no longer able to maintain their active certification. In recognition of an individual's contributions, the IACP DRE section presents the "DRE Emeritus" awards to selected honorees each year at the section's annual training conference on Drugs, Alcohol and Impaired Driving. This year's conference is scheduled for July 22-24, 2010 in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania.
IACP DRE Section Chair, OSP Senior Trooper Tim Plummer, and DRE Section Regional Operations Coordinator, Charles Hayes, presented the award to wife, Rhonda Burright 
Selected this year to receive the IACP "DRE Emeritus" special recognition award is retired OSP Sergeant John Burright. Due to the ongoing recovery from his on duty career-ending injuries, Burright was unable to travel to the national conference to receive the award. IACP DRE Section Chair, OSP Senior Trooper Tim Plummer, and DRE Section Regional Operations Coordinator, Charles Hayes, presented the award to his wife, Rhonda Burright, at the Oregon DUII Multi-Disciplinary Impaired Driving Training Conference held in Bend. His name and selection for this award will be read during the national conference in Pittsburg.
 
On September 4, 2001, Burright, Albany Police Officer Jason Hoerauf (who was participating on an OSP ride-along program), and OSP Senior Trooper Maria Mignano stopped to assist a family in a disabled vehicle eight miles south of Salem along the northbound lanes of Interstate 5. The three officers were struck by a vehicle while standing off the freeway shoulder outside the patrol cars. Mignano and Hoerauf died at the scene. Burright received critical injuries that he has not fully recovered from and led to his retirement from OSP one year later.
 
Prior to that fateful encounter while trying to help someone nearly 9 years ago, Burright left an unforgettable impact on many people. Starting his law enforcement career as a reserve deputy in 1982 for Benton County Sheriff's Office, he was hired by OSP in March 1987 in the Patrol Division at the Roseburg office. One year later he transferred to the OSP Albany office where he worked until 1998 when he was promoted to Sergeant and transferred to the Salem office.
 
Burright arrested hundreds of impaired drivers during his brief OSP career and attended Oregon's first DRE School in 1995. As a DRE, he performed 35 drug evaluations and later became a DRE/SFST instructor helping to teach hundreds of law enforcement officers on DUII enforcement and DRE-related training.
 
Since his retirement, Oregon's Department of Public Safety Standards and Training (DPSST) named a special award after Burright recognizing the leadership of a supervisor who goes above and beyond regular duties, encouraging outstanding efforts in traffic safety and enforcement within their department while implementing innovative programs, curriculums, and/or presentations that emphasize traffic safety.