Advocates for safe streets honor officers for DUI arrests - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Advocates for safe streets honor officers for DUI arrests

Dozens of law enforcement officers filled the Orange Grove Community Center Tuesday night for a banquet designed to say thanks to the men and women in blue.  (Photo source: WLOX) Dozens of law enforcement officers filled the Orange Grove Community Center Tuesday night for a banquet designed to say thanks to the men and women in blue.  (Photo source: WLOX)
GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) -

Dozens of law enforcement officers filled the Orange Grove Community Center Tuesday night for a banquet designed to say thanks to the men and women in blue. 

"Tonight what we're doing is giving back to the law enforcement for their everyday service out there on the roads, keeping the roads safe," Bill Downs explained. "I'm happy because this is the first one we've ever done. We were expecting the worst and hoping for the best."

Downs is the president of the non-group Advocates for Victims of Impaired and Distracting Driving, or AVIDD. Members wanted to honor officers from across the coast with a night music, food, and camaraderie. 

"We got together and started to form AVIDD, and it's a support group for victims that have lost or have been injured by even an impaired or drunk driver., or even a distracted driver," said Downs. 

But there's a deeper reason why Downs and several others started the organization nearly three years ago.

"My wife and I actually lost a son and a daughter-in-law and a young man that we loved as a son on Highway 53 to a drunk driver, which she also lost her life," said Downs.

Rather than living a life overcome by grief, Downs and his wife reached out to other people who suffered similar losses. It's safe to say that officers from all over the coast appreciate what they've done. 

"It's amazing to think about these men and women have lost family members and what they want to do is recognize law enforcement officers who are out here enforcing DUI, and it gives these guys a little boost in their tank," said Sgt. Joshua Bromen with the Gulfport Police Department. 

AVIDD organizers say they're volunteering their services to any schools or companies that would like them to speak on behalf of the victims of drunk or impaired driving. You can reach the group by emailing avid4duivictims@cableone.net or messaging the group's Facebook page. They also have a website: http://aviddvoiceofthevictims.weebly.com/

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