Last Saturday night, April 18, Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD) had its annual California Law Enforcement and Community Recognition Event in Sacramento, honoring officers who had gone the extra mile to keep drunks off the highways. One of the honorees was Oakley Officer Morrison. He was recognized for his commitment to arresting DUI offenders for the year of 2008. Officer Morrison has only been assigned to Oakley since the last part of 2008. In that short time he arrested over 50 people for DUI. Officer Morrison is on his way to having more than 100 arrests for DUI for 2009.
I asked Oakley Chief of Police Chris Thorsen what makes Officer Morrison so unique. “Officer Morrison is a nationally recognized expert in the area of drug and alcohol intoxication. As such he has been training our staff on under the influence issues. This has led to a higher number of DUI arrests by all of our staff, most notably in the area of driving under the influence of Marijuana. The DUI drivers have probably been here all along, we are just getting better and more confident at catching them.”
Chief Thorsen pointed out that with a two lane highway running through the middle of town about 60% of these arrests are people traveling through our community. Approximately 17,000 lives are lost to drinking and driving every year in the country. Of our last 4 fatal accidents, 3 involved alcohol!
The Chief also left me with this information: “Between the increased success in DUI enforcement and the increased emphasis on traffic through the motor program, collisions are down about 25 percent. Injuries are down over 30 percent as compared to last year. I know it sounds a little corny, but if you sit in a room of 40 or 50 Oakley residents there is a strong possibility one of them is there (and alive) because of the success we’ve been having in traffic safety.”
If you feel the need to drive under the influence you may want to avoid Oakley. You’ll probably get caught.