An Avondale police officer has been named the 2013 Mothers Against Drunk Driving Officer of the Year award for 2013.

Officer Justin Iwen received the award, which recognizes his commitment to make Arizona’s streets safer by providing impaired driving enforcement and continuing the public’s education on the hazards of drinking and driving.

Iwen was recognized at MADD’s annual award event.

“I was actually surprised, I was not expecting to win,” Iwen said. “Surprised, shocked, honored.”

Iwen was recognized because of his extensive participation in West Valley DUI Task Forces and his assistance in DUI investigations and accidents.

He also received a DUI Enforcement Award for his efforts in the 2012-13 fiscal year. Iwen issued more than 240 citations and had more than 50 arrests in cases involving individuals under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

“This issue is near and dear to me,” Iwen said. “I know so many people who have been affected.”

He’s had friends get DUIs as well as friends injured in DUI related accidents, Iwen said.

To be considered for the MADD award, officers are nominated by a sergeant or lieutenant. Iwen was nominated by Lt. Albert Bates, Avondale’s Traffic Division supervisor.

MADD then goes through the nominations and selects the award winner.

“Officer Iwen has displayed a tremendous commitment to the safety of drivers,” Bates said in a statement. “There is no doubt his enforcement efforts have made our streets safer.”

Iwen has been a member of the Traffic Division for Avondale since 2008.

He recently completed training to become a motorcycle officer in May.

“I just got on the bike in May,” Iwen said. “I’ve had four years in the graveyard shift [prior].”

Iwen said he also has done extra DUI enforcement training.

MADD was founded in 1980 by Beckie Brown after she lost her 18-year-old son in a car accident involving a drunk driver.

MADD’s mission statement is “to stop drunk driving, support the victims of this violent crime and prevent underage drinking.”

Shane McOwen can be reached by email at