Minnesota honors area law enforcement DWI 'All-Stars'
A driver once pulled up next to Hawley police officer Thomas Taylor's parked squad car and asked him to check if his driver's license was valid again after a DWI revocation.
Trouble was, the driver smelled strongly of alcohol. It turned out the man's driver's license was still revoked.
"I never go out looking for drunk drivers," Taylor said. "They find me - or I find them."
Taylor was recognized Wednesday as one of 31 Minnesota DWI Enforcer All-Stars in a Department of Public Safety-sponsored ceremony before the Minnesota Twins game.
The roster of officers, troopers, sheriff's deputies and prosecutors also featured Moorhead officer Chad Anderson and Otter Tail County Deputy Scott Wagner.
This is the second year the Public Safety Department gave props to the state's top DWI enforcers, weighing the number of arrests they made last year against the size of their communities.
"They do really important work in helping keep Minnesota's road safe," said department spokes-man Nathan Bowie, adding, "Now is really a time to think about this because this issue really spikes up during the summer months."
Wagner made 52 DWI arrests last year, followed by Anderson and Taylor, with 35 and 16, respectively. Minnesota's "most valuable enforcer," State Patrol Trooper Kyle Klawiter, racked up 184 DWI arrests in 2008.
The pre-game ceremony mimicked a World Series all-star team announcement, with the enforcers lined up along the first- and third-base line as the PA announcer read out their names.
Taylor, a 12-year Hawley police veteran who last year pulled over a drunken driver going 114 mph on a 45-mph road, said he relished the recognition.
"It's kind of neat to be recognized with the guys who see a lot more drunk driving than we do," said Taylor, an avid Twins fan.