National Sheriff's Association Announces 2008 Recipient of the J. Stannard Baker Award for Highway Safety
(July 10, 2009, Bel Air, MD) — Sergeant Joseph VanSeeters of the Harford County Sheriff’s Office was honored Tuesday, June 23, 2009 during the National Sheriffs’ Association Annual Conference in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. He was the 2008 recipient of the J. Stannard Baker Award for Highway Safety, which recognizes individual law enforcement officers and others who have made significant achievements in highway safety. The award is sponsored by the National Sheriffs’ Association, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Nationwide Insurance, and the Northwestern University Traffic Institute.
Sergeant VanSeeters has been a member of the Harford County Sheriff’s Office for over 17 years and currently serves as the Supervisor for the Traffic Enforcement Unit. He oversees all traffic operations throughout Harford County. During his distinguished career in law enforcement, he has worked to increase the amount of critical traffic safety equipment available for the Sheriff’s Office, significantly. Through various grants and partnerships, Harford County Sheriff’s Office and the citizens of Harford County have benefited greatly through equipment expansion and programs. RADAR equipment has increased from 9 units to 118 units in a ten year period; Preliminary Breath Test Devices grew from 10 to over 50 units; a Tint Meter Enforcement Program was implemented; and
LTI Quick Map Total Stations are now available and being used in crash investigations.
Furthermore, Sergeant VanSeeters has worked to promote traffic safety through education and advocacy efforts. Serving as the Lead Traffic Enforcement Instructor for the Harford County Sheriff’s Office Training Academy, he works to secure training for Harford County deputies in multiple areas of traffic safety, field sobriety, and crash investigations. He speaks at a various local civic organizations and schools in the county; serves as an adjunct instructor for both the Baltimore County Police Academy and for the Maryland State Police Chemical Test for the Alcohol Unit; and serves on various traffic safety boards, committees, and coalitions at both the local and state level.
Sergeant VanSeeters has survived injuries from two traffic-related events in his career. In 1993, during a traffic stop, he was struck by a hit-and-run driver who was later apprehended. Then, in 1999, he was again struck during a traffic stop; however, this time was hit in the back of his head by an open rear tractor-trailer door. Although he required treatment at the Maryland Shock Trauma Unit and three months of intensive rehabilitation, he did not let his injuries prevent him from returning to his duty as a law enforcement officer. “It is clear traffic safety is a critical issue to Sergeant VanSeeters,” stated Sheriff L. Jesse Bane. “His determination, his dedication to the agency and Citizens’ of Harford County is evident in his exemplary performance. We were not surprised he was recognized as the number one traffic person in the Nation.”
Sergeant VanSeeters’ recognition was from the National Sheriffs’ Association (NSA), which is the largest association of law enforcement professionals in the United States, representing more than 3,000 sheriffs across the nation, and a total membership of more than 20,000. NSA is a non-profit organization dedicated to raising the level of professionalism among sheriffs, their deputies, and others in the field of criminal justice and public safety. Throughout its sixty-eight-year history, NSA has served as an information clearinghouse for sheriffs, deputies, chiefs of police, other law enforcement professionals, state governments and the federal government. NSA also provides management training for sheriffs and their command personnel at the National Sheriffs’ Institute and through other innovative programs, workshops, and seminars. The National Sheriffs' Association, located in Alexandria, Virginia, also oversees the highly successful Triad Program and Neighborhood Watch.