Chain | Cohn | Stiles joins MADD to honor local officers, prosecutors fighting to end DUI crimes

June 15, 2017 | 8:27 am


Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), Kern County recognized and honored local law enforcement officers and prosecutors on Wednesday, June 14, for their valiant efforts in helping stop DUI crimes.

Bakersfield-based personal injury and workers’ compensation law firm Chain | Cohn | Stiles was proud to be a sponsor, supporter and organizer of the event.

In all, more than 70 officers from throughout Kern County agencies were awarded at the 2017 Kern County MADD Law Enforcement and Prosecutor Recognition ceremony, held at Hodel’s Country Dining in Bakersfield. Prosecutors from the Kern County District Attorney’s Office were also honored, with the highest awards going to the top prosecutor, top probation officer, and the top law enforcement officer.

“These local heroes are potentially helping save lives by removing DUI offenders from our streets,” said Carla Pearson, victim services specialist for MADD Kern County. “They deserve recognition for making our communities throughout Kern County safer.”

To view the names of all of the officers awarded, click here. Among the top award winners were:

  • Probation Department Award, Deputy Luis Gomez: While Deputy Probation Officer Luis Gomez does not conduct traffic stops to arrest DUI offenders, he does work hard at keeping the community safe by supervising felony probationers to ensure they are not consuming alcohol. He also works tirelessly to ensure these offenders remain in compliance with the orders of the court. Through funding provided by the Office of Transportation and Safety, Officer Gomez supervises 75 high-risk, felony and repeat DUI offenders. In 2016 alone, Officer Gomez conducted 947 home calls and 855 office conferences with these dangerous offenders. In 2016, he conducted 522 urinalysis tests by ETG device and 1,125 Breathalyzer tests. Officer Gomez has been swift in his responses to those who violate Court orders by arresting them or placing them on monitoring programs in an effort to reduce their alcohol consumption. Officer Gomez’ diligence in supervising these high-risk worst of the worst DUI offenders is commendable and has gone a long way to help keep our streets safer for the citizens of Kern County.
  • Top Prosecutor 187 Award, Kern County Supervising Deputy District Attorney Michael Yraceburn: Michael Yraceburn prosecuted the nation’s first successful murder conviction for driving while impaired by marijuana. That March 2014 crash, in which the suspect was driving close to 80 miles per hour before losing control, killed David Aggio on impact. The suspect was sentenced to 20 years to life.
  • Top Law Enforcement, Bakersfield Police Officer Louis James: Officer James was reassigned to the Bakersfield Police Department’s Traffic Section in July 2015. Since then, he has primarily worked the graveyard shift. As a result, he has been one of the most, if not the most, productive traffic officer in regards to DUI enforcement. Though he was assigned to the traffic section for only a year and a half, he maintained his aggressive DUI enforcement to make the citizens of Bakersfield safer. In 2015, He received an award from MADD California for his efforts, and in 2016 he arrested 247 DUI drivers. This was the most of all traffic units within the department and one of the highest in California.

Prosecutor’s Awards were also handed out by the Kern County District Attorney’s Office, and were awarded to Kim Richardson, Garrett Rice and Brad Taconi.

The awards ceremony returned to Bakersfield for 2017 after the loss of federal grant funding and budget cuts prevented the 2016 awards luncheon from being hosted in Kern County. This year, several community sponsors, working with MADD Kern County’s Advisory Board, stepped up to make sure officers from all Kern County agencies were being honored for their work in fighting against DUI crimes.

The MADD Kern County Advisory Board includes Chain | Cohn | Stiles attorney Neil Gehlawat and marketing director Jorge Barrientos.

Sponsors for the awards luncheon included anonymous donors, Chevron, Kern Federal Credit Union, Bakersfield Police Officers Association, Greenlawn Mortuary, Raymond’s Trophy, Clifford & Bradford Insurance Agency, Sally Herald CPA, and Chain | Cohn | Stiles.

Since 2009, our community has seen at least 4,000 DUI arrests made each year, with 4,056 DUI arrests in 2016, according to the Kern County District Attorney’s Office. That’s more than 11 DUI arrests per day. Sadly, many impaired drivers weren’t stopped in time, and instead caused major damage to innocent lives.

The awards luncheon is one of two MADD Kern County signature events aimed to bring awareness of the DUI epidemic in our community, and fight toward ending DUI crimes here. Bakersfield’s 2017 Walk Like MADD & MADD Dash — presented by Chain | Cohn | Stiles — will be held on Saturday, Sept. 23, at Park at River Walk.

You, too, can be involved in the fight to end drunk and drugged driving locally. You can help by signing up as a walker, runner (5K or 10K), team captain, or volunteer. Parents: The event also features a kid’s “fun run,” where each child of walk and race participants gets a free superhero cape. You can even get involved if you aren’t able to attend by signing up as a “virtual walker,” or by asking a donation toward a participant or team who has been affected.

For more information on that event, go to walklikemadd.org/bakersfield.

— Alyssa Wood of Chain | Cohn | Stiles contributed to this report. 

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MEDIA COVERAGE

Chain | Cohn | Stiles nominated for Beautiful Bakersfield award

June 22, 2016 | 5:45 am


Each year, the Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce recognizes individuals, businesses and organizations that help improve the quality of life in Bakersfield, and honors them during the annual Beautiful Bakersfield Awards gala.

For 2016, nominations were received in 17 categories including humanitarian, arts and culture, education, and businessperson of the year, among many others.

For its work in helping revitalize downtown Bakersfield with a six-month, seven-figure renovation of an old 30,000 square-foot building — the Bakersfield-based law firm Chain | Cohn | Stiles was nominated for a Beautiful Bakersfield award in the “renovation/tenant improvement” category.

Learn a little more about the accident and injury law firm’s recognition, as well as the awards program, here:

 

Revitalizing downtown Bakersfield

Chain | Cohn | Stiles turned one of the city’s oldest building into a modern workplace that helped to contribute to ongoing efforts to revitalize downtown Bakersfield.

After spending 30 years in the Bank of America building on Chester and Truxtun avenues, the 80-year-old local law firm Chain | Cohn | Stiles moved into a new building in August 2015. The six-month, seven-figure renovation of the 30,000 square-foot building on the southwest corner of Chester Avenue and 18th Street has changed the landscape of one of downtown Bakersfield’s most historic intersections. With the help of architect Paul Skarphol and contractor Dave Whitezell, Chain | Cohn | Stiles took a shell of a building that once housed Goodwill Industries and sat vacant for nearly three years, and turned it into a modern workplace for the 30-employee firm.

Some of the work included cutting new windows into 17-inch reinforced concrete walls on the north side of the building, creating a new internal work space and completely renovating the entire first floor, repainting the exterior and adding signs and lights around the exterior to shine on downtown Bakersfield. The law firm has worked with Boss Pizza and Bakersfield Downtown Business Association to install lights and other efforts to make the alleyway and nearby area safer.

Additionally, the firm added “green elements” including energy-efficient lighting and a cutting-edge climate control system. The front lobby – with hanging ring lights and a glass lit logo sign – with a connecting large conference room are welcoming sights for clients, visitors, media and others who have used the new space. In fact, these areas are often used by other local organizations for meetings and gatherings – including Mothers Against Drunk Driving Kern County’s regular meetings.

To add an aesthetic feel downtown, the logos have the ability to change colors, and have been changed to observe various holidays and designated dates throughout the year (red for Go Red for Women, pink for breast cancer awareness, etc.)

At one point, all buildings in the corners at the intersection of Chester Avenue and 18th Street sat vacant – a dark visual of the depressed business area in downtown Bakersfield. Opening an established, thriving business office in the area was “a hopeful sign for the continuing evolution of Bakersfield’s commercial and historical core,” according to The Bakersfield Californian.

For its work, Chain | Cohn | Stiles has already received the Downtown Beautification Project award from the Bakersfield Downtown Business Association.

 

And the winner is …  

The Beautiful Bakersfield Awards has been held annually since the 1990s and this year was held June 4 at the Double Tree Hotel, hosted by KGET Channel-17’s Jim Scott and Tami Mlcoch. To see the complete awards program, filmed by TBC Media, click here, and individual category awards can be viewed here. A full list of winners can be seen here.

The “Renovation/Tenant Improvement” award ultimately was awarded to Bakersfield Pediatrics and Valley Children’s Hospital, and you can view the category presentation here.

In a letter to Chain | Cohn | Stiles, president and CEO of the Greater Chamber of Commerce Nicholas Ortiz thanked the law firm for “playing such an active role in our city’s advancement and making such a positive difference in our community.”

“Your nomination pays tribute to the time, effort and commitment that you so generously gave to enhance and improve our community’s quality of life,” Ortiz wrote.