NSA is pleased to announce that Sheriff Charles E. Jett of the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office in Stafford, Virginia has been selected as the recipient of the 2013 J. Stannard Baker Award for Traffic Safety. The Award was presented at the General Session on Monday, June 24th at NSA’s Annual Conference in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Sheriff Jett began his law enforcement career when he joined the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office at the age of 19. He rose through the ranks serving as patrol sergeant, detective, and captain of field operations. He was elected sheriff in 1999.
Traffic safety has always been one of Sheriff Jett’s top priorities. In 1982, he was the focal point of an article in a local newspaper regarding drunk driving. The article outlined his 115 arrests in a one-year period. To date, this is still a record in Stafford County.
Prior to his promotion to captain, Stafford County experienced its most deadly year in traffic history with 20 fatalities. In 1991, during his tenure as captain, he outlined goals and a vision for traffic safety in the community. He made training and obtaining specialized equipment a priority. He drafted and instituted policies and procedures outlining very specific alcohol and speeding countermeasures. As a result of his efforts, the number of fatalities was more than cut in half. This is a tradition that continues today.
Sheriff Jett created the first all-volunteer crossing guard program that now includes 20 well trained and uniformed volunteers. Under his guidance, the sheriff’s office has also trained numerous public school employees to be crossing guards.
In 1998, Sheriff Jett was instrumental in the creation of the Stafford Sheriff’s Office Problem Solving Traffic Safety Unit. He stressed that every deputy was a traffic safety deputy and this unit would focus on special projects and needs.
Sheriff Jett has instituted several programs in his efforts to make traffic safety a priority. These programs include volunteer traffic trailer deployment, volunteer speed watch group, enhanced fine zones, traffic calming, click it or ticket, child safety seat checks, teen safe driving week, as well as many others. He created the corridor safety program, Operation Saturation, a program that raised safety belt use to 90% and reduced speed for motorists by four miles an hour in affected corridors.
Sheriff Jett is a charter member of the Youth Driver Task Force. He has also been on many traffic safety boards and commissions including the IACP Highway Safety Subcommittee and the NSA Traffic Safety Committee.
Sheriff Jett’s commitment to traffic safety has paid off. Stafford County residents continue to benefit from his efforts, as the alcohol and speed related incidents continue to decline.