Jefferson County deputies receive MADD awards for service to community

MADD winners

Two Jefferson County Sheriff's Office (JCSO) deputies received awards from Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) for the officers' dedication to get drunk drivers off the streets. 

According to information from the sheriff's office, Deputy Trent Ikner started working at JCSO in January 2014. After working for seven years in the Applied Sciences Field, he decided he to make change and go into Law Enforcement, a career that had interested him since high school. He got a job at the Jefferson County Correctional Facility. After completing his probationary period there, he continued working at the jail as he applied for and was accepted to attend the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Academy in January 2015.

Ikner completed the Academy and continued to work at the jail until he was accepted for a position in the Patrol Division in June 2016. He began his Field Training Program and learned the fundamentals of making a Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) case. As he neared the completion of his training program, he was working an accident site directing traffic when he was almost struck by an oncoming vehicle that had disregarded all of the emergency lights and the deputies. After the driver was stopped, it was determined he was intoxicated.

It was at that point Ikner says he made the determination to become the best he could at those types of cases. He has attempted to learn from every case he has filed, he said, and every time he goes to court he strives to determine what he could do better and how to improve his case paperwork. Ikner says he he strives to take intoxicated drivers off of the streets, making it safer for everyone on the road, which is why he has been selected to receive this award by his Supervisors and MADD.

"We are very proud of you, Trent," Deputy Marcus McLellan stated in a news release. "Congratulations!"

Detective Matt Gardner began his career in law enforcement following his four-year service to our country in the United States Army and following a tour in Iraq in 2000, McLellan reports, adding, "Being a self-motivated, community servant pushed Matt into the field of law enforcement."

In 2002, Gardner was hired by JCSO in the corrections division where he promoted to book-in officer, a tested position. He served as a JCSO Academy instructor for approximately two years.

In 2005, while off-duty, Gardner was a victim of a DWI crash as he was parked stationary at a traffic light in Beaumont. His vehicle was struck from behind and pushed into the intersection by a drunk driver who tested three times the legal limit. The crash caused him back and neck injuries that he still suffers from to some degree; those injuries also serve as a painful reminder of the incident, he said. In 2009, Gardner attended the JCSO Police Academy where he received the "Sheriff Culbertson Scholarship Award," and was an honor graduate of the academy. He was later promoted to the patrol division, where he excelled in every area of the job. In 2012, during his time in the patrol division, Gardner was highly affected by the death of his friend and fellow Beaumont Police Officer Lisa Beaulieu, who was struck and killed by an intoxicated driver while performing her duties. This, combined with the death of another close friend who had been killed while operating a motorcycle while intoxicated, resulted in a sharp escalation of Gardner's DWI enforcement efforts, says the officer. These unnecessary deaths, in addition to countless other incidents he encountered, opened his eyes to the incredible epidemic related to motorists driving under the influence.

Gardner's enforcement efforts became his passion, and he again excelled in the field of DWI enforcement, highly increasing his DWI-related arrest numbers during the years to come, thus proving what a substantial problem this issue had become within Jefferson County, the state and the nation.

Gardner is a prior MADD Law Enforcement Officer of the Year recipient who has taken the initiative in helping train his fellow deputies during shift meetings in an effort to sharpen their DWI enforcement knowledge. He is looked upon as a leader in his field and has recently been promoted to the Criminal Investigations Division where he is assigned a variety of criminal cases but, most fittingly, DWI arrest cases.

Gardner's hard work and dedication has motivated and encouraged other patrolman, McLellan remarked, causing them to recognize the importance of the issue of drivers under the influence and breeding a new legion of officers dedicated to keeping the roadways safe for everyone.

"We are very proud of you, Matt. Congratulations!"