Past NCDC Leadership Award Winners

ADA Thad Toups

2011 Winner

Hon. J. Michael Kavanaugh

2009 Winner

Hon. Sarah Smith

2008 Winner

Judge Kent Lawrence

2012 NCDC DWI Court Leadership Award Winner


Picture of Award and Judge LawrenceEvery year the National Center for DWI Courts (NCDC) recognizes an individual with the DWI Court Leadership Award. This award shines a spotlight of commendation on a person that through his or her tireless efforts saved countless lives and made the community a safer place. The person must have contributed to the advancement of the nation's DWI Court effort, and demonstrated significant personal leadership and exemplary performance at the local, regional, state or national level. Judge Kent Lawrence, this year's winner, has absolutely done that at every level. He was the first Chief of the Athens-Clarke County Police Department, an assistant prosecuting attorney, and he was a judge since November 1985, retiring in November 2011.


In 2001, Judge Lawrence implemented the first DWI Court in Georgia which became one of the four NCDC DWI Academy Courts, national role models on how a DWI Court should work. He led the effort in Georgia to expand DWI Courts and improve public safety for everyone in the state, being awarded in 2005 with the recipient of the Governor's Office of Highway Safety Director's Award in promoting public safety in Georgia. Georgia now has 18 DWI Courts because of his efforts. But he has gone beyond Georgia and worked to ensure that DWI Courts are instituted nationwide. Judge Lawrence was on the NADCP Board of Directors, Chairman of the NADCP DWI Court Committee and the NCDC DWI Court Task Force, and he is on the faculty for the National Drug Court Institute and the NCDC.


"Judge Lawrence has at every step been working to improve the status of DWI Courts everywhere and improving public safety for all of us. He has done it with grace, intellect, and compassion, and in every sense of the word, a true gentleman," according to David Wallace, Director of the NCDC.  "He clearly is a leader in the DWI Court field."


In receiving the award, Judge Lawrence stated: "Seeing our participants walk the path from addiction to sobriety, from having no control over their lives to becoming a productive member of society has been the most exciting, challenging and rewarding work that I have done in my lifetime."


Click below to watch the Award Ceremony.