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Traffic Safety Spotlight: Doug Paquette

Every once and awhile there is a special individual who you encounter in your career that offers guidance, mentorship, and support. Technical Sergeant Doug Paquette was one of the first practitioners that I met as a young researcher and he has been an invaluable resource over the years offering technical support and insight on how to improve impaired driving enforcement.

A member of the New York State Police since 1986, Sgt. Paquette has made it his mission to reduce impaired driving and save the lives of New Yorkers. At the time of his retirement this year, he was the officer in charge of drug and alcohol training (both Standardized Field Sobriety Test (SFST) training and the Drug Evaluation and Classification program) as well as underage drinking enforcement efforts. A leader from his early days as a trooper, Doug was selected as one of the first officers in New York to participate in the DEC program and he has been certified as a Drug Recognition Expert/DRE Instructor since 1988. Since becoming a DRE, Doug has taught in 27 states as well as several Canadian provinces. While serving as New York’s DRE State Coordinator at numerous times throughout his career, Doug also has the distinct honor of teaching the first Canadian DRE school in Vancouver in 1996.

Other accomplishments include being actively involved in review and updates for numerous impaired driving enforcement curriculums. On the underage drinking front, Sgt. Paquette has participated in workshops and curriculum development for the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) and the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ).

In addition to his educational efforts, Sgt. Paquette has also explored ways to increase efficiency within the DUI system. He is one of the co-creators of the DRE Tablet program which allows New York DREs to conduct evaluations on a tablet and automatically download the data for storage and analysis. This program has since expanded beyond New York as other states have sought to replicate its success.

In his distinguished career, Sgt. Paquette has received the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) J. Stannard Baker Award for Outstanding Contributions to Traffic Safety and the CANDID/IACP award for outstanding program development. Today, we add the Kevin E. Quinlan Award for Excellence in Traffic Safety to recognize the immense contribution that Sgt. Paquette has made to the field of traffic safety over his thirty-year career. Enjoy your retirement, Doug!

Each year, highlights leaders who have distinguished themselves in the fight against impaired driving with the Kevin E. Quinlan Award for Excellence in Traffic Safety. Winners range from Members of Congress to local leaders in our communities and each have gone above and beyond their station to make our roads safer.

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