When Joel Bolton was only 12 years old, his niece, Ginger, was killed in an automobile accident. There were no child safety seats back then and seat belts were rarely used. The incident so affected Bolton that he decided to become a police officer.
"That bothered Joel and when he went into law enforcement, it was for passenger safety and car seats and things like that," said Sandy Bolton, his widow. "Joel was the number 3 person in the country to be certified in child seat inspections and installations. Now there are over 300,000."
After 25 years with the Lake Charles Police Department, Bolton moved to Washington, DC to work for the Department of Transportation...writing national programs on child seat and passenger safety.
"He was successful in law enforcement and passenger safety because he had a pure passion for Ginger and her death. That's how he would want to be remembered. That would be his legacy."
Bolton died of a heart attack in March of 2012, leaving behind his wife and 4 year old daughter, Jolie. Calcasieu Sheriff's deputy David Benada was a close friend.
"He'll be missed, but his impact will live on," said Benada. "That's a great thing. A great legacy. That's what we all want is to leave an impact and he has."
Lt. Joel Bolton was remembered in a National Memorial Police Week service in Lake Charles, and his Stannard Baker Award for Highway Safety, given to him by the International Chiefs of Police in 2006, was hung at Lake Charles Police Headquarters in his memory.