A West Virginia Law Enforcement Officer wrote President Colleen Sheehey-Church a heartfelt letter about how her presentation at a recent conference renewed his drive to fight drunk driving. Read below:
Let me start this by telling you a little about myself. I have been employed by County Sheriff’s Department in West Virginia for almost 15 years. Before that, I was a city patrolman in a nearby small city for two years. So all together, I have been working on the road as a police officer or deputy for almost 17 years.
During that 17 years, I have always been very active in traffic enforcement and arresting DUI’s. I can’t tell you for sure how many DUI’s I have arrested over time, but, if I haven’t surpassed 1,000 DUI arrests by now, I am very close to it. During the last year (2016) and into this year (2017), that non-stop drive to always be stopping cars and arresting DUI’s has started to slip some. Don’t get me wrong, I still make the arrests. I find that I’m just not the guy out there every night looking for offenders left and right, making DUI arrests every night over the last year and a half as I was before.
Now, lets jump to the 2017 West Virginia Highway 2 Enforcement Conference. I was attending this years conference with the lowest number of DUI arrests I have ever had in a year. As I sat in the room and listened to your keynote address to us, I really listened to what you were saying and the story you told about your son Dustin.
I can relate to your story a little. I did not have a son that was killed by an impaired driver. However, I did have a father that was killed by a drugged driver. The women who rear-ended him was high on OxyContin and marijuana at the time of the crash. This was enough to motivate me to get into the Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) school and complete it to become one of the DRE’s for my area.
Like my job, I’m sure you put in countless hours for very little pay or respect and might sometimes wonder if what you say gets through to anyone.
I don’t know how many people were in the room when you were giving your speech in West Virginia on the 25th of May 2017, but I just want you to know you got through to at least one person. You can consider me motivated to continue the fight against impaired driving until the last day I put my vest on and put a gun belt around my waist.
I know what happened to your son and my father can never be changed, but I hope in doing my job I can keep someone else from having to go through the tragedies we share. I want to thank you for the job you do with MADD. Please never think that what you do always falls on deaf ears. If you only reach one or two people every time you give a speech to law enforcement officers and motivate them to get more active with impaired driving enforcement, it is worth it. The one or two officers you reach might be the officers who stop the car that is about to turn someone’s life upside down and inside out.
– From a member of the West Virginia Law Enforcement