Earlier today, Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD) recognized law enforcement officers throughout the Tri-Counties area for their efforts in keeping our streets and communities safe by arresting drunk or impaired drivers. The yearly event was held at the Spanish Hills Country Club in Camarillo and was well represented by all agencies, including the District Attorney’s Offices from all three counties.
Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Deputy John Valenti was awarded the “Top DUI Officer” for arresting 68 DUI drivers. This was the second year in a row he was recognized for his efforts and last year he had the most arrests in the Tri-Counties area with 130.
Also recognized were, Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Deputy Celeste Johnson for 44 arrests, Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Deputy Kody Kiesow for 33 arrests and Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Senior Deputy Rockwell Ellis for 25 arrests.
During a speech, Chief Jason Benites of the Oxnard Police Department, remembered what a senior officer once told him when he first became an officer. “Each drunk driver is driving a two and half ton weapon and it’s our job to make sure we disarm that weapon before they hurt or kill themselves or someone else.”
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about 1.5 million people are arrested on any given year for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. That means that one out of every 121 licensed drivers are arrested for drunk or impaired driving.
MADD’s focused goal is to end impaired driving for good. Since their founding, they have served as a lifeline for thousands of victims and survivors, and drunk driving fatalities have been cut in half — but they refuse to stop there. The work of the deputies honored by MADD exemplify our shared goal of ending this 100% preventable crime.