Police officers are in the line of fire every day. By that I do not mean that they have people shooting at them on a daily basis, however, they do have life-changing situations confronting them on a daily basis. Facing off with lawbreakers, including those suspected of driving under the influence, can be very stressful.
In his last year as a full-time patrol cop in Morgan Hill, California Steve Pennington decided to wage a one-man campaign against drunken driving. So he gave up day shifts to work night and swing shifts exclusively, a prime time to go after drunken drivers. As reported in www.mercurynews.com.
His dedication paid off.
Pennington arrested 95 people on suspicion of driving under the influence in 2012, the most of any officer in Santa Clara, San Mateo and San Francisco counties. He was recognized last week during a banquet sponsored by Mothers Against Drunk Driving for his efforts as the top DUI arresting officer in those three counties.
Pennington said he became inspired to go after DUI suspects after hearing stories of people whose loved ones were killed by drunken drivers. One story that stayed with him throughout his career was that of an off-duty San Francisco cop whose wife was killed by a drunken driver. The officer and his wife were driving home when he stopped to help someone on the roadway. As the officer helped the stranded motorist, a drunken driver plowed into the cop's car, killing his wife.
The 55-year-old Pennington was responsible for nearly 43 percent of the 222 DUI arrests made by Morgan Hill police in 2012. Does this mean others were not doing their jobs?
Although Pennington has retired, his days hunting down drunken drivers aren't over. Pennington plans on staying on as a reserve officer and work traffic enforcement around schools or DUI enforcement.
I am sure Pennington would agree that increased education through California DUI classes are a good idea. After all, we all want to keep drunken drivers off the road.