The first person whom Colorado Springs Police Officer Glenn Thomas thanked was his wife. Then, his colleagues.
If not for them, he said, he couldn't do his job.
On Tuesday, Thomas was given the highest honor during the 12th annual Ken Jordan Award for Excellence in DUI Enforcement at the Gold Hill division station. The 25-year police veteran alluded to the long, usually late hours of an officer in the DUI unit and the tragic results of drunken driving crashes.
"It's a rough job," Thomas said. "Everyone will tell you that it's a rough job. It's a rough schedule. Having family support, having team support, having support of my sergeant have really allowed me to excel in the last 25 years."
He was one of five nominees from the police department, with Officers Michelle Nethercot, Jake Tuzinski and Scott Warren and Sgt. Kerry Haug, all with the DUI enforcement team.
El Paso County Sheriff's Deputy Jason Haag and Manitou Springs Police Officer Dylan Settle rounded out the local nominees. Two Colorado State Patrol troopers and an Aurora police officer also were nominated for the award, which is named after Colorado Springs Officer Ken Jordan, who died in 2006 after he was shot four times while stopping a suspected drunken driver.
Thomas said he was "extremely honored" to receive the award, as it was named after a former colleague and close friend. In his 20 years with the DUI unit, Thomas has served as a patrol officer and as an instructor to recruits.
"Officers and supervisors often seek him out due to his comprehensive knowledge, ability to relate that knowledge to others, and his willingness to help anyone who asks," his nomination said.
The award ceremony came after more than 100 law enforcement agencies across Colorado arrested 259 people suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol, marijuana and/or other drugs during Super Bowl weekend, the state's Department of Transportation reported. That number was a drop from the 278 arrested during the same enforcement period last year.
Colorado Springs police made 22 arrests during this year's DUI enforcement campaign - which was five behind the state high reported in Denver.
In 2017, El Paso County recorded the most traffic deaths - 77 - among the state's 64 counties, CDOT reported. Of those, 29 were attributed to driving under the influence.
Thomas said the DUI unit's job is to help keep roads safer, even as traffic deaths continue to rise. Colorado had more than 600 traffic-related fatalities last year, marking the second time since 2005 that the total crept above 600.
"We deal with people in their worst positions at their worst time," Thomas said. "We deal with a lot of good people who simply make mistakes. And our job and our goal as a police department and DUI enforcement officer is to change their driving habits so it's safer for everyone."