Experienced Hamilton highway patrol police officer Sergeant Darren Smart has been awarded the Dr John Birrell Road Safety Practitioner of the Year Award.
Sergeant Smart has been recognised by his peers for his outstanding work around road safety and reducing the road toll in the south-west.
In 2017 the Rotary Club of Warrnambool East, in conjunction with a team of Warrnambool police officers, established the award to recognise an outstanding road safety police officer each year.
Warrnambool East Rotary president Cliff Heath said Sergeant Smart had made a significant contribution to reducing the road toll in the south-west region, which covers the council areas of Southern Grampians, Glenelg, Warrnambool, Moyne and Corangamite.
"Darren has indicated his wish is for the award's $2500 to be donated to the Western District Health Service, towards their fundraising for an MRI machine for the Hamilton Base Hospital," he said.
"In just over 12 months 800 individuals, community groups and businesses, have raised $1,070,000 to bring an MRI scanner to Hamilton.
"The total project cost is expected to be $2.9 million and inclusive of upcoming fundraising appeals, events and grants.
"Western District Health Service is on track to install the MRI machine by the end of this year."
Sergeant Smart has been a police member for more than 20 years with 17 years in highway patrol.
He was contacted for comment.
Dr Birrell, OAM, was a former police surgeon for 20 years and a tireless campaigner for road safety.
He was instrumental in introducing alcohol breath testing of drivers and compulsory wearing of seat belts.
After spending several years as a senior lecturer at Monash University and as a pathologist at the Melbourne City Morgue, he was selected to be a police surgeon from 1957, a position he held for 20 years.
Dr Birrell worked tirelessly with the media on seatbelt promotion, influencing politicians and parliamentary road safety committees about road safety.
He was described as the "public face on the issue of blood alcohol and road safety ... the major force in arousing public awareness of the problem".
He passed away in 2003 aged 79.
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