CHARLESTOWN — It hasn’t taken Officer Patrick Majeika very long to find a place within the Charlestown Police Department and help to make a difference in the community.
The 24-year-old earned a positive reputation as a dedicated officer during his first year on the force and his focus on traffic and pedestrian safety helped lead him to be named a 2017 AAA Traffic Hero of the Year.
“I was very humbled to have been nominated by my command staff and selected to receive this award,” Majeika said. “Nationally it has been proven that good-quality traffic enforcement programs save lives, which is why educating the public about roadway safety is such an important part of my job. Every day I go into work committed to preventing the next bad accident, the next bad injury, the next fatality.”
Majeika was honored by AAA Northeast during a celebration in early November. He was one of approximately 30 officers and towns selected for recognition as part of the annual program, which is designed to honor those who go beyond the normal call of duty to help foster safe communities, according to John Paul, senior manager of traffic safety advocacy with AAA Northeast.
Paul said to qualify, nominees needed to show a dedication to three aspects of traffic safety: engineering, education and enforcement.
“It takes a combination of all three in order to create a successful impact,” Paul said. “Engineering is often beyond the scope of officers, but without both education and enforcement to both prevent dangerous behavior and hold accountable those who are taking unnecessary risks, you won’t find success.”
Charlestown Police Chief Jeffrey Allen said he doesn’t always submit nominations, but that over the past year Majeika stood out as a leader in DUI enforcement, has committed to improving traffic enforcement in the community and connects with the public daily in an effort to make community roads safe.
For the local officer, who joined the Charlestown Police Department in 2016, it’s a strong start to what he hopes will be an impressive career.
A Westerly native and 2011 graduate of The Prout School, Majeika earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Rhode Island in 2014 with a focus on criminology and criminal justice. He completed training at the Rhode Island Municipal Police Academy in May 2016.
Majeika said this week that the recognition only shows a strong need for officers everywhere to continue to focus on traffic safety. He also credited the department as a whole for their combined efforts in keeping the town safe.
“Through traffic enforcement, I am able to monitor and educate the public on the dangers of speeding, texting while driving, running a stop sign, or driving under the influence. It is important for people to realize the decisions made while operating a vehicle can have fatal consequences. This award is a reflection of a town that places a strong emphasis on roadway safety.”
In addition to Majeika’s award, Charlestown police were recognized at the banquet for a milestone achievement after the town was able to go 20 consecutive years without a pedestrian fatality. Allen said the town is committed to doing what it can to see that there are no pedestrian fatalities for at least 20 more.