A Utah Highway Patrol trooper and a Protective Services officer are this year's recipients of the Department of Public Safety's Distinguished Service Medal - the highest award the department bestows on individuals.

The pair, trooper Richard L. Haycock and officer Bradley Horne, received their awards during an special awards banquet at Salt Lake Community College Friday night.Public Safety Commissioner John T. Nielsen, who presented the awards, said Haycock was honored for his part in developing the patrol's highly successful drug interdiction program. He credited Haycock with being personally responsible for seizing millions of dollars worth of drugs from the hands of suspected drug-runners.

Horne was chosen for the award for his efforts in helping solve a June robbery and aggravated assault case that occurred at the Utah State Credit Union office. Working many additional hours on his own time, Horne's investigation helped track a suspect to Missouri, where he was subsequently arrested by the FBI, Nielsen said.

Ernest R. Gates was the recipient of the department's Citizens Individual Service Award for his actions which saved the life of a young woman who had lost consciousness while her car was traveling down the freeway.

Nielsen said Gates maneuvered his car in front of the woman's car, slowing down to allow it to run into the back of his vehicle. He was able to bring both vehicles to a stop and then summoned help for the stricken woman.

Deceased Corrections Officer Fred House was also honored posthumously with the department's Medal of Valor. House was shot and killed at the conclusion of last January's Singer/Swapp siege at Marion, Summit County.

Four other Utahns and the cashier's department for an area bank were also honored Friday night - all receiving the department's newly-created Distinguished Service Award.

Inaugural recipients were Gov. Norman H. Bangerter; U.S. Attorney Brent Ward; commuter traffic reporters Duane Southwick and Bret Huish; and the Valley Bank cashiers department.

Nielsen said Bangerter was chosen for the award for "going beyond the call of duty" to support the Public Safety Department - ranging from his helping save the Highway Patrol's Port-of-Entry stations, to his personal involvement in the Singer/Swapp standoff.

Nielsen praised Ward as being a great supporter of local law enforcement, especially in the fight against illegal drugs. He said Ward has been an ardent supporter of the department's drug interdiction program.

Both Southwick and Huish were honored for their hours of service in the skies over the Salt Lake Valley, helping countless commuters avoid rush-hour traffic jams.

Nielsen said the final Distinguished Service award was presented to the Valley Bank's cashiers' department for their help with the state's drug interdiction effort. He said the cashiers have responded enthusiastically to public safety's call, donating their time and help with the business and accounting aspects of handling important drug cases. The award was accepted by Robert F. Kelly and Mark N. Pehrson.