Colorado Springs police Officer Justin Keown attended an award ceremony Tuesday morning dressed in his civilian clothes.
After all, the DUI enforcement officer wasn’t scheduled to start work until 6 p.m. went to the Gold Hill substation at 8:30 a.m. to watch one of his colleagues receive the Ken Jordan Award.
Keown walked away from the ceremony a bit surprised after being chosen the winner of the award — named after a CSPD officer who died after being shot at a DUI traffic stop in December 2006.
“Winning it was not even an expectation,” Keown told reporters, noting that Ken Jordan was a friend of his and also a “great man.”
Tuesday marked the third time the officer had been nominated for the award handed out for “Excellence in DUI Enforcement.” Keown joined six other nominees recognized at the event.
The others nominees were Officer Paul Engebretson of the Fort Carson Police Department, Spc. Spencer Rozell of Fort Carson Military Police, Officer Sheyna Marshall and Sgt. Bryan Widner with the Fountain police and Colorado State troopers Nicholas Hazlett and JJ Wolff.
Colorado Springs police patrol supervisor Sgt. Mary Walsh nominated Keown for the award.
Walsh said Keown’s desire to share his knowledge about DUI enforcement is what set him apart from the other nominees.
“He focuses on educating others as well as on the enforcement aspect of his job,” Walsh said of the 4-year DUI patrol veteran.
Keown has become a police training officer in the area of DUI enforcement and has spoken to several school groups on the subject.
“The sooner we can educate young people about the dangers of drugs and drinking, that has an effect later in life,” Walsh said. “Even if we effect just one person, that’s well worth the effort.”
Keown said he “fell into” the role of DUI officer with the Colorado Springs department. He said he quickly developed a passion for that area of law enforcement and made 152 arrests in 2012.
“We prevent serious injury and deaths,” Keown said. “That is what drives me. I can help keep my family safe and help keep everybody’s family safe.”
Keown is the seventh recipient of the Ken Jordan Award first handed out at the end of 2006.
“I’m tickled pink,” he said with a smile. “It’s a true honor.”