Officer Stephen Burres: A Day In the Life of A DWI Officer

For the past seventeen of twenty-five years in law enforcement, I have worked for the Irving Police Department in Irving, Texas. Irving is located in Dallas County which is one of the highest counties in the State of Texas for DWI related crashes and arrests, second only to Harris County (Houston).

The first two years of my career in Irving, I was assigned to the patrol division and for the last fifteen years I have been assigned to the nighttime DWI Unit as one of five DWI enforcement officers or traffic homicide investigators. My primary function is to investigate any drug or alcohol related intoxication assault or manslaughter cases.

When I’m not working on those types of cases, I roam the nearly 80 miles of highway Irving has looking for impaired drivers in an effort to reduce or eliminate these types of crashes. It’s a job that I take very seriously and one that I can say truly makes a difference every day our team of dedicated professionals come to work!

As DWI officers, I truly believe that we have the most important job within the police department. I know many other officers will say this about their specific fields of expertise as well, but let me explain why DWI enforcement is so important. Stopping impaired drivers is the only job that you really do make a lifesaving difference every day you come to work.

When you think about it, intoxicated driving is the only offense across this great nation that can go from a low level misdemeanor to a high level felony in literally the blink of an eye.

Unfortunately when it does, that means someone is seriously injured or has lost their life as a result of an intoxicated driver.

Officers who are assigned to DWI Units around the nation have a commitment in their field that is second to none within law enforcement. Any officer who gets transferred to our DWI Unit recognizes that this position is not based on seniority, great working hours or days off, and that they can expect that they will be working every major holiday or event due to high alcohol consumption.

An officer knows going into this field that there is a lot of specialized training to be an effective officer. Our Unit sends officers to Standardized Field Sobriety Instructor School (SFST), Drug Recognition Expert (DRE), Commercial Vehicle Enforcement (CVE), and Crash Reconstruction School to give the officers the knowledge they need to more effective on the road. This is true dedication to your profession.

With all the training that comes with the job, we constantly have to go through re-certification classes to keep up with the changing trends. Case law for our specific field is ever changing and evolving and new and improved enforcement techniques are constantly being sought after.

Being a DWI enforcement officer means many hours away from our families during the holidays. When other people get additional time off from work to celebrate, DWI officers get additional days to work to help keep our roadways safe from intoxicated drivers. Unfortunately, we are far outnumbered by intoxicated drivers, but we give it our all in an effort to make sure everyone has the opportunity to get home safely.

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