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Martin County deputy honored by Minnesota TZD

K9 Deputy Luis Figueroa of the Martin County Sheriff’s Office was honored by Minnesota Toward Zero Deaths for his work to save lives through improved traffic safety efforts. The awards were announced at the statewide TZD conference last week in Rochester.

Sixteen individuals and three organizations were recognized with Minnesota Toward Zero Deaths Awards Minnesota at the annual statewide TZD Conference for accomplishments that improve safety and reduce the number of life-changing crashes, deaths and serious injuries on Minnesota roads. Figueroa won the TZD Education Star Award.

The prestigious traffic safety awards are presented by the Minnesota departments of health, public safety and transportation. More than 800 traffic safety professionals attended the conference.

Figueroa serves as the Martin County Safe Roads Coalition Coordinator and TZD law enforcement contact. In these roles, he has been instrumental in bringing educational programs and events to Martin County, such as Responsible Beverage Server Trainer, the Arrive Alive sober ride home program, and a CPS/Buckle Up for Ice Cream event with the local Dairy Queen.

Figueroa has facilitated traffic safety education at the local high schools through a mock crash and by attending health classes to talk about distracted and impaired driving. He also partnered with the Martin County Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition during May events, communicating the message of Shining the Lights on Intoxicated Driving.

“Deputy Figueroa has the desire and passion to help Martin County residents be safe on our roadways and to help drive Minnesota towards the goal of zero fatal and serious injuries,” said Annette Larson, South Central TZD regional coordinator. “He has even offered to provide responsible beverage server training in an adjacent county (that county currently has no trainers) that wanted to get their servers trained.”

In October 2022, Figueroa organized a traffic safety education event for the Spanish community, working with the TZD coordinator and CPS staff to bring in information and car set checks for more than 20 families.

TZD Star Awards are given annually to individuals and organizations in Minnesota that show excellence in TZD’s emphasis areas of enforcement, emergency medical and trauma services, education, engineering, child passenger safety and judicial/court systems. They have shown their leadership and creative capacities in efforts to improve traffic safety throughout the state and build partnerships.

The Minnesota TZD program is an interdisciplinary partnership with the state departments of health, transportation and public safety. This collaboration began 20 years ago and has worked to reduce Minnesota roadway deaths by 33 percent.

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