Chico, Calif. -- All too often, tragic roadway collisions that result in death capture headlines.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving says Driving Under the Influence (DUI) is the number one cause of death on our nation's roadways.
One Chico Police Department officer is being recognized for his efforts to try and change that.
The North State region has witnessed a number of high-profile traffic accidents which have claimed the lives of individuals. In several incidents, prosecutors believe the person responsible may have been impaired at the time.
A three year veteran of the department, Chico Police Officer Drew Cooper patrols the streets not only to respond to incidents but also to take proactive steps in prevention. He continually keeps a keen eye out for drivers who may be impaired while behind the wheel.
Officer Cooper says he is confident the public understands that each time a drunk or impaired driver goes to jail, that a life is potentially being saved.
For the second year in a row, Officer Cooper’s work in taking impaired drivers off the roads has earned him recognition from the national organization, Mothers Against Drunk Driving; MADD. The organization presents what is known as the 23-152 award. It honors officers nationwide, who identify impaired drivers and make substantial numbers of DUI arrests each calendar year.
For 2017, Officer Cooper was responsible for 59 arrests. That number was 55 for 2016. He says he is always aware of when something does not appear quite right. He remains on the look-out for drivers who may be swerving, going the wrong way or blowing through stop lights and signs. He says those are just some of the indicators the person behind the wheel may be impaired.
Officer Cooper says he feels good knowing that he is playing a role in helping people to go home safe. He says one cannot place a quantitative number on lives that are saved, injuries avoided or car crashes that do not happen because an officer finds a drunk or otherwise impaired driver and takes them to jail.
According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, an estimated 10-thousand, five-hundred people are killed each year due to DUI accidents.