Law Enforcement Support

I remember his shoes in the grass.

The Miami-Dade traffic homicide detective had come to deliver the worst news of my life. My 16-year-old daughter, Helen Marie, was rollerblading on a bike path a few blocks from home when a teen driver, high on marijuana and drunk on tequila, ran off the road and killed her.

When she hadn’t come home that June night, my husband had gone to look for her.

Now he was back. With a detective. Without Helen Marie. I ran through the grass, screaming.

I already knew what the officer was about to say. I could not look up. It was too heavy.

So I screamed at his shoes.

What courage it must have taken. To tell a mother her child was dead. What compassion he showed.

A few years later, I met the officer again. Mothers Against Drunk Driving had given me a platform for my grief. It started at a police roll call, just more than a year after Helen Marie’s death, where I was asked to stand up and tell my story. I began attending sobriety checkpoints, bringing the cookies my daughter loved to bake. And I went into schools, where I tried to reach teenagers who might be faced with the choice to drink alcohol — and get behind the wheel.

The officer’s name was David Greenwell, and he was on a similar mission. When he told me his name that day at the school, I asked to see his shoes. It was the only thing I could remember about him.

He lifted his heel. We remain friends to this day, just like so many of the law enforcement officers I have met on this journey. He is an avid supporter of MADD, and I still call on him.

Before Helen Marie was killed, I did not truly understand the vital role law enforcement plays in our fight to end this crime. Now I do. You are the tip of the spear. Your work changes lives. It saves lives.

A person drives drunk an average of at least 80 times before their first DUI arrest, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. When you take a drunk driver off the road, you are taking away their potential to injure or kill. You are ensuring that one more person makes it home. That one more family, one more community, is spared the devastation that this crime inflicts. And you are doing it at great personal risk. The sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrols you perform act as a deterrent not to just drunk driving but to all crimes.

We could not perform our mission without you. On behalf of MADD and myself, thank you. We are here to support you. Just like you support us every day.

Sincerely,

Helen Witty

All Drunk Drivers are High Risk

This year Mothers Against Drunk Driving is celebrating our 40th anniversary. MADD’s impact since our founding in 1980 is undeniable. MADD started a cultural revolution that made drunk driving unacceptable. MADD was THE grass roots organization who lead the way reducing drunk driving deaths in half from approximately 22,000 deaths in 1980 to 10,511 fatalities in 2018. MADD achieved this result thanks to our ardent network of victims, volunteers, traffic safety partners, and law enforcement officers like you. But our work is far from over. MADD will not be satisfied until we have a nation of No More Victims.

You are MADD’s Heroes, a title we give to the most dedicated enforcers of traffic impairment laws. Drunk driving is no accident. It is a choice. Anyone who is impaired, regardless of the reading on the breathalyzer, is a high-risk threat to every officer on patrol and every driver, every pedestrian, every life, they encounter. We know that every time you leave your home, every time you perform a traffic stop, your life is at risk. MADD supports you. MADD is here for you. MADD will fight for you and work to get the resources you need to do your jobs.

Unfortunately, we still fight misperceptions perpetuated by the alcohol industry that threaten the progress we have made toward ending this crime. Most recently, the alcohol industry funded a report released in December 2019 that calls for an emphasis on rehabilitating drunk drivers who are convicted with a blood alcohol concentration of .15 and above. The report labeled those drivers as “high risk.” Specifically, the report recommended “moving away from a conviction-centered approach” for the worst of offenders, which it called “cookie-cutter justice”, and instead dedicate resources to treatment and aftercare.

I don’t have to explain to patrol officers who work the streets and highways every day that ALL drunk drivers are high risk drunk drivers. MADD’s former National President, Jan Withers, lost her daughter, Alisa Joy, to a drunk driver with a BAC of .08.

Classifying drunk drivers as “high-risk” or “hard core” is a tired debate that was settled nearly 15 years ago. In 2006, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety issued a report, which said “… the hard-core group isn’t the whole DWI problem or even the biggest part, so it doesn’t make sense to focus too narrowly on this group. The result is to overlook a lot of other impaired drivers who escape the definition of hard core.” The December 2019 report even acknowledges that its rebranded thesis was originally argued by the alcohol industry two decades ago. We must not repeat the mistakes of the past.

America does not require definitions. We need solutions. Drunk driving is the Number 1 killer on America’s roads. We must remove the impaired driver from the road. Patrols save lives. Traffic stops save lives. DUI arrests save lives. If District Attorneys and Courts recognize drunk driving as a violent crime, then there would be no discussion about “high-risk” offenders. Arresting impaired drivers is not “cookie-cutter justice”, but rather a moral and just cause, saving innocent lives by enforcing the law to its fullest extent.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average drunk driver has driven drunk at least 80 times before they are caught. You know this, because you’ve seen it. Drunk driving killed 10,511 people in 2018, which is 29% of all traffic fatalities. Drunk driving is THE leading cause of traffic fatalities. Furthermore, a shocking number of law enforcement officers are killed by drunk drivers while performing routine traffic stops. Ask the nearly 1 million victims of drunk driving and they will tell you, a driver with .08 BAC is just as dangerous as a driver with a .15 BAC. Impairment is impairment and impairment kills.

MADD’s mission is to eliminate the 100% preventable, violent crime of drunk and drugged driving. Senseless debates over “high-risk” drunk drivers were resolved 20 years ago when America adopted .08 as its national standard.

MADD is committed to creating a nation of NO MORE VICTIMS, but we cannot do it alone. MADD, its victims, volunteers, and constituents need you. MADD can pass great laws, but without you, it is all wasted effort. Patrols prevent crimes. Patrols matter. DUI arrests matter. MADD needs you to stay vigilant and to keep the pressure on ALL drunk drivers through high-visibility enforcement and DUI checkpoints. MADD is back and MADD has your back. Now and always. Thank you for keeping our communities safe and stay safe out there

Sergeant Don Egdorf

Don is a Houston Texas police officer who specializes in drunk driving enforcement. He is a Standardized Field Sobriety Test (SFST) and Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) instructor who travels across the country to speak about fatal crash cases, and investigative techniques he has acquired through his years of experience.

While Don was in high school, his father, who also was a law enforcement officer, was hit by a drunk driver while on duty. Don’s father survived, and the experience inspired Don to join the law enforcement community. Throughout his own career, Don has been involved in five DWI-related crashes and investigated many DWI-related, line-of-duty deaths.

Don is recognized as a National leader in sharing his passion to eliminate impaired driving.  His presentations always encourage and inspire officers to enforce impaired driving laws and educate the public concerning the dangers of this violent crime.

Don has volunteered with MADD for many years and serves on the MADD Southeast Texas Advisory Board. He resides in Houston and has two children, a son and a daughter. When not working, Don is an avid hockey fan and spends his spare time doing landscape and nature photography.

MADD extends our deepest condolences to the agencies and families who have lost officers and loved ones in the line of duty

  • Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IN)Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IN)
    Officer Breann Leath was shot and killed while responding to a domestic disturbance call at 1803 Edinburge Square shortly before 3:00 pm. A subject inside opened fire, striking Officer Leath and... Read more »
  • Stanton Police Department (KY)Stanton Police Department (KY)
    Detective James Kirk suffered a fatal heart attack following a struggle with an armed subject. He had responded to back up other officers dealing with the non-compliant subject. After running to... Read more »
  • Montgomery County Sheriff's Office (NC)Montgomery County Sheriff's Office (NC)
    Deputy Sheriff Sypraseuth Phouangphrachanh died as the result of contracting COVID-19 while on duty as a school resource officer. Deputy Phouangphrachanh contracted the virus at the beginning of a small... Read more »
  • Detroit Police Department (MI)Detroit Police Department (MI)
    Captain Jonathan Parnell died as the result of contracting COVID-19 while on duty. Captain Parnell had served with the Detroit Police Department for 31 years and was assigned to the Homicide... Read more »
  • Broward County Sheriff's Office (FL)Broward County Sheriff's Office (FL)
    Deputy Sheriff Shannon Bennett died after contracting COVID-19 while on duty. Deputy Bennett had served with the Broward County Sheriff's Office for 12 years and served as an SRO at Deerfield... Read more »
  • Riverside County Sheriff's Department (CA)Riverside County Sheriff's Department (CA)
    Deputy Sheriff Terrell Young died after contracting COVID-19 from an infected inmate at the Byrd Detention Center. Deputy Young had served with the Riverside County Sheriff's Department for 15 years. He... Read more »
  • Chicago Police Department (IL)Chicago Police Department (IL)
    Police Officer Marco DiFranco died after contracting COVID-19 while on duty. Officer DiFranco had served with the Chicago Police Department for 21 years. He is survived by his wife, two children,... Read more »
  • Hutchinson County Sheriff's Office (TX)Hutchinson County Sheriff's Office (TX)
    Sheriff Kirk Coker suffered a fatal heart attack shortly after responding to an unattended death near Fritch, Texas. He had responded from his home to the scene of the death. While... Read more »
  • Phoenix Police Department (AZ)Phoenix Police Department (AZ)
    Commander Greg Carnicle was shot and killed while responding to a domestic disturbance call involving roommates at an apartment near 40th Drive and Pinnacle Peak Street. He and two other officers... Read more »
  • North Carolina Highway Patrol (NC)North Carolina Highway Patrol (NC)
    Trooper Nolan Sanders was killed in a single-vehicle crash on I-795 near exit 22 at mile marker 19 in the Pikeville area of Wayne County, at 7:17 pm. His patrol car... Read more »
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For a complete listing of Officers lost in the line of duty, please visit www.odmp.org

MADD’s 2020 Court Monitoring Report was recently released and can be found at this link.  Of interest, nationally, the conviction rate is only 59% in the 15 states where MADD currently has court monitors.  The report also lists state by state reports.  https://www.madd.org/the-solution/drunk-driving/court-monitoring/

 

COVID-19:
Health and Safety for Law
Enforcement Families

https://www.theiacp.org/sites/default/files/COVID-19-Families.pdf

 

MADD’s 2019 Report to the Nation

https://online.flippingbook.com/view/361187/


MADD National Law Enforcement Impaired Driving Summit Final Report

In November of 2018, MADD hosted a National Law Enforcement Impaired Driving Summit.  Executive level law enforcement officers attended and discussed and identified barriers to strong impaired driving enforcement.  This link will take you to the final report for the Summit which identifies those barriers and offers solutions to improve enforcement.

https://www.madd.org/madd-law-enforcement-summit-report/



IACP Traffic Safety Resource Guide

https://www.theiacp.org/sites/default/files/2019-10/237323_TrafficSafety_Report-final.pdf


NHTSA Highlights Decline in Highway Crash Fatalities in the First Nine Months of 2019

https://www.constructionequipmentguide.com/national-highway-traffic-safety-administration-highlights-decline-in-highway-crash-fatalities/47078


NHTSA Traffic Safety Fact  – 2018 Impaired Driving Stats

https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/812864



NHTSA Traffic Safety Outreach

http://iacp-nimble.informz.net/z/cjUucD9taT05MTUwNzA3JnA9MSZ1PTExMTY4MzE1MTYmbGk9NzQzMDAyOTY/index.html


GHSA Report – New Projection: 2019 Pedestrian Fatalities Highest Since 1988

More than 6,500 Pedestrians Killed on U.S. Roads Last Year

https://www.ghsa.org/resources/Pedestrians20


Great article and example of how increased high visibility enforcement can have a positive effect on public safety.  Great job Nixa PD!

https://www.ky3.com/content/news/Nixa-Police-Department-records-rise-in-traffic-stops-decrease-in-overall-crime-568425901.html


 

MADD National Conference Save the Date