Orange barrels on a highway
News Release
Dec. 5, 2013




Search Statewide News



Minnesota Toward Zero Deaths Star Award winner announced

Brainerd, Minn. – A recently retired Brainerd law enforcement officer is recipient the Minnesota Toward Zero Deaths Star Award in Enforcement.


Retired Sgt. Becky Putzke from the Brainerd Police Department won the TZD Enforcement Star Award at the statewide TZD conference held mid-November in St. Cloud where more than 900 traffic safety professionals gathered.


In 1994, Sgt. Putzke forged a collaboration in Crow Wing County that includes 10 other local law enforcement agencies and the Minnesota State Patrol. With her passion for traffic safety, she has kept the group together for nearly 20 years and guided its members into high-visibility enforcement even when it was not required. In addition, Sgt. Putzke made herself available to the Office of Traffic Safety at the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, providing valuable input on a variety of programs and projects, including the Real-Time Officer Activity Reporting System (ROAR).


Retired Sgt. Putzke's longevity and sustained enthusiasm for traffic safety are an inspiration. Her leadership and the efforts of the enforcement collaboration have undoubtedly resulted in numerous lives saved on Crow Wing County roads.


Past Recipients of the award include Jason Engeldinger, Minnesota State Patrol (2012), Scott McConkey, Office of Traffic Safety (2011), Joel Scharf, Moorhead Police Department (2010), Bruce Johnson, Dakota County Sheriff's Department (2009), Jeremy Cossette, White Earth Tribal Police (2008).


The Toward Zero Deaths Star Awards are given to recognize excellence in engineering, enforcement, judicial/court systems, education, emergency medical and trauma services, child passenger safety, media and distinguished public leadership.  Award recipients have demonstrated exceptional creativity, leadership and organizational skills as well as the ability to successfully collaborate with and motivate others in efforts to reduce traffic-related deaths and serious injuries on Minnesota roads.


A primary vision of the TZD program is to create a safe driving culture in Minnesota in which motorists support a goal of zero road fatalities by practicing and promoting safe and smart driving behavior. TZD focuses on the application of four strategic areas to reduce crashes—education, enforcement, engineering and emergency trauma response.