Our first line of defense when it comes to keeping our roads safe from impaired drivers are our law enforcement heroes. Dave Kopenhaver is the Senior Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) in the state of South Carolina and a member of the DUI Task Force that patrols Richland County. To date for the year of 2017 Dave has 65 DUI arrests and over 1000 DUI arrest in his career. He began his law enforcement career in 1991 serving six years in the United States Marine Corps as a military police officer. Dave has served as an instructor at the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy in the Traffic Safety Unit having trained 120 DRE’s in the state and over 3000 officers in field sobriety and DUI Enforcement. Dave has volunteered on his off hours as a speaker at our Cayce MADD Victim Impact Panel. His honest and expert account of the dangers of DUI as well as ability to engage the attendees with his smiling opening line of “Did I arrest any of you because this could be awkward?” provides an informative balance to the panel.
Dave is also a member of the Community Service Division of the Richland County Sheriffs Department that is featured on #LivePD. Most recently, the #LivePD camera crew caught his administration of the Field Sobriety Test (FST) after he pursued a car going 100 mph from Greystone Boulevard to Huger Street in Columbia. The offender’s blood alcohol content (BAC) was a .21. Dave has said that when he is on patrol at night, he is hunting. Hunting for those who are making the choice to drink or do drugs and get behind the wheel of a vehicle. Dave has had the heartbreaking task of informing so many that their loved ones are never coming home again and he describes it as the worst aspect of his job.
MADD SC is very grateful to Deputy Dave Kopenhaver for keeping us safe and to his commitment to MADD’s mission of “No More Victims”. You can catch Dave and the rest of the Richland County Sheriff’s Team on Live PD on A&E Friday and Saturday nights starting at 9:00 pm.