Guest Author: Alex Otte
MADD National President Alex Otte Completes Her Term and Thanks Law Enforcement for the Life Saving Work They Do
As my time as MADD’s National President comes to a close at the end of this month, I am grateful for the opportunity to share a few words with the law enforcement community through MADD’s newsletter. I have a dual perspective to share, I am a victim of a violent crime that has led me to have significant contact with law enforcement throughout my life, and I am married to a police officer. When I say thank you and that I understand the work that you do, it is because I live alongside of it every single day.
I understand the challenges that you face, and how difficult it may be to continue to take drunk and drugged drivers off the road and off the water, only to see them go out and do it again because the justice system does not always treat drunk and drugged driving like the dangerous and deadly crime that it is. Even when it’s frustrating, please know that every moment a drunk or drugged driver spends off the road or off the water is a moment that might have saved someone’s life. You can never imagine the lives that people will lead because you were there, to stop the crash from happening by removing an impaired driver from the road or waterway or to help them pick up the pieces after their life has been irrevocably changed because of one person’s decision to drive under the influence, but I can. Your vigilance has helped prevent more stories like mine and you have been the helping hand and the shoulder to cry on for so many when they need you most. Thank you.
As individuals in a profession faced with so much tragedy, and so many roadblocks, it is important to remember the reason why your work is so important. As a result of the newest estimates from first quarter 2022, we know that more than 1,000 people are being killed every month by drunk drivers and more than 25,000 people are injured every month. Each one of these numbers represent a person. People with lives and families and hopes and dreams for the future that they didn’t get to live because of someone’s choice to drink and drive, entire communities and everyone who loves them, are impacted.
Your diligence, and your decision to continue doing the difficult work of removing impaired drivers from our roads and waterways, prevents my story and stories like mine from becoming someone else’s story. Thank you for your continued dedication.
Our choices are the first line of defense against drunk and drugged drivers, but you are the safety net that keeps people who have made the wrong decision from devastating a family or a community.
The holidays are a time every year when we see increased incidents of drunk and drugged driving and a statistically higher number of deaths and injuries. It is also the time of year when these losses are felt the most. While you are out there working to ensure no one else is taken away from their families and friends this Christmas or left to spend the holiday in a hospital away from home, we know that you and your family are making sacrifices while you’re away. Thank you, to you and your loved ones, for making this sacrifice, day in and day out, to protect your communities from drunk and drugged drivers and other violent crimes, to ensure we all get to go home safely.
As my time with you comes to an end, I want to close by thanking you. Thank you for everything you do. Thank you to so many of you for giving me the opportunity to know you, visit and interact with those in your agency, and joining with me and victims and survivors across the country as we fight for a day when there will be no more victims.