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Thursday, May 5, 2016

LawCo Deputy Ryan Devost is named Officer of the Year

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Lawrence County Sheriff's Office personnel were invited to attend this year's Newton-Jasper County Chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driver (MADD) annual banquet. Lawrence County Patrol officer Ryan Devost was named Officer of the Year at the annual event. Pictured above are Lawrence County law enforcement officials. From left, are: Lawrence County Sheriff Brad DeLay, Devost, and Lt. Grant Wheeler.
The Newton-Jasper County Chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driver (MADD) has named a Lawrence County Patrolman as Officer of the Year during a banquet held April 19 in Joplin.

Deputy Ryan Devost was honored for his efforts to crack down on drunken or impaired driving.

"This is really an honor for us, since we are not formally a member of that chapter," said Lawrence County Sheriff Brad DeLay. "The chapter picked up on what he was doing, recognized his efforts and honored him for his contributions."

The organization hosts a banquet to recognize judges, volunteers and officers who contribute to their cause each year.

"I was humbled to be invited," Devost said. "I felt honored that they extended their chapter to include me."

Devost has worked with the Lawrence County Sheriff's Department for four years as a patrol officer. Last year, he made 43 arrests for impaired driving in Lawrence County.

At Drury Law Enforcement Academy, Devost scored 100 percent on his practical and written exams having to deal with drunk drivers.

"My instructors there urged me to go down that path," Devost said. "I take every training opportunity for DWI that is available."

Devost is also trained as a drug recognition expert.

"That's a lot harder than DWI," Devost said. "But these protocols are designed where every agency in the world does this the same way. It's very intense and detailed. Most of the time, I can see instantly what's going on with an individual, but I still have to follow the protocols and write my findings on the report."

The drug recognition expert process requires a blood sample be drawn on the suspect, which are sent to the Missouri State Highway Patrol lab for analysis.

"Let's just say I haven't had a case turned back [by the prosecuting attorney] yet," Devost said.

"I don't care what kind of pill someone is popping or what drug they're on, it doesn't matter to me," Devost said. "If they are impaired, they are off the road. That's my goal."

Devost said some medical conditions can be eliminated during a routine field test for sobriety.

"If it's questionable, I'll advise the arresting officer to let them go," Devost said. "I don't want to have to be in court testifying against another officer."

Devost is frequently called out to back up other officers making an impaired driving arrest.

"In this department, we each have our strengths and our weaknesses," he said. "We tend to feed off of each other's strengths and help each other out in their weak areas."

Devost said the most prevalent drugs he finds in Lawrence County are marijuana and prescription pills.

"When I am not performing my regular duties or on a call, I am out hunting drunks," Devost said. "It's my passion.

"I would love to have the money and manpower to develop a task force dedicated to getting impaired drivers off the roads. I could probably average one arrest per day."

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