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Minnesota's "DWI Enforcer All-Stars" Recognized at Tonight's Minnesota Twins Game
Minneapolis Police Officer Steve Wuorinen Leads State with 165 Arrests in 2017
ST. PAUL – Crashing into the wall or a collision at home plate is all part of a baseball game. But when it comes to driving, motorists are playing a potentially deadly game with their life and the lives of others if they choose to get behind the wheel after drinking and crash. To stop those dangerous decisions, officers, deputies and troopers teamed up in 2017 to make nearly 25,000 DWI arrests across Minnesota.
To honor those who excelled at keeping Minnesotans safe, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety (DPS-OTS) is recognizing 42 law enforcement officers, troopers, deputies, and prosecutors as the 11th DWI Enforcer All-Star team during the Minnesota Twins pre-game activities at Target Field today. The event is sponsored by AAA.
In 2017, the all-stars made 2,751 combined DWI arrests across Minnesota, protecting countless innocent lives from being changed forever. On average, three people are arrested for DWI every hour in Minnesota.
“That number has us all shaking our heads,” said Mike Hanson, Office of Traffic Safety director. “Until all Minnesotans take responsibility by lining up a sober ride 100 percent of the time, officers, deputies and troopers will continue to diligently work to get drunk drivers off our roads. While I applaud the DWI All-Stars who have gone the extra mile to keep Minnesotans safe, my hope is that one day this event will no longer be necessary and our roads will be free of drunk drivers.”
Top All-Stars Keeping Roads Safe
Topping 100 DWI arrests is not a milestone officers, deputies and troopers want to achieve. They would rather see zero drivers impaired on the road. But thousands of drivers continue to drive drunk on Minnesota roads, which led to nine law enforcement officers each stopping 100 or more drunk drivers. Minneapolis Police Officer Steve Wuorinen led the way with 165 arrests in the Twin Cities. In Greater Minnesota, Minnesota State Trooper Mitch Elzen arrested 123 drunk drivers.
DWI Enforcer All-Stars and Number of 2017 DWI Arrests
Greater Minnesota All-Stars
- Jeff McCormack, Austin Police – 37
- Joe Kalla, Big Lake Police – 41
- Mike Becklund, Lake City Police – 29
- Jake Green, Mankato Public Safety – 41
- Mitch Elzen, Minnesota State Patrol – 123
- Zachary Borchardt, Minnesota State Patrol – 62
- Jamie Meyer, Mower County Sheriff – 54
- Tom Brogan, Mower County Sheriff – 32
- Michael Schei, Nobles County Sheriff – 30
- Brent Zuhlsdorf, Redwood Falls Police – 30
- Chad Meemken, Stearns County Sheriff – 39
- Darren Ringness, Stearns County Sheriff – 30
- Darin Vossen, St. Cloud Police – 161
- Chad Myers, Winona County Sheriff – 77
- Les Ladewig, Winona County Sheriff – 47
- Adam Dupic Winona Police – 37
- George Kennedy, Sherburne County Attorney
Twin Cities All-Stars
- Daniel Walton, Bloomington Police – 84
- Chad Streif, Eden Prairie Police – 88
- Jake Heckert, Edina Police – 136
- Ben Wenande, Edina Police – 73
- Ricky Harr, Edina Police – 55
- Phil Spanjers, Edina Police – 38
- Jacob Johnson – Inver Grove Heights Police – 46
- Randall Campbell, Jordan Police – 30
- Nick Jacobson, Lakeville Police – 37
- Steve Wuorinen, Minneapolis Police – 165 (Top DWI All-Star)
- Anthony Nelson, Minnesota State Patrol – 158
- Steven Lindbeck, Minnesota State Patrol – 129
- Keenan Jones, Minnesota State Patrol – 123
- Kendall LeMay, Minnesota State Patrol – 119
- Andrew Martinek, Minnesota State Patrol – 116
- Allen Thill, Minnesota State Patrol – 95
- Derek Kruse, South St. Paul Police – 35
- Brian Avent, St. Paul Police – 62
- Alexander Graham, St. Paul Police – 58
- Santiago Rodriguez, St. Paul Police – 43
- Andy Sharratt, Wayzata Police – 40
- Antonio Brown, White Bear Lake Police – 55
- Tommy Satele, Woodbury Police – 53
- AJ Veenendall, Woodbury Police – 43
- Heather Robertson, Minneapolis City Attorney
“It’s a great honor to be recognized as the top DWI enforcer in the state,” said Steve Wuorinen, Minneapolis Police Department. “I know that each drunk driver that is taken off the street is one less impaired person who might make a fatal decision. I also recognize that one person can’t do this alone. I congratulate all of those being recognized tonight and applaud every law enforcement officer who makes DWI arrests to make our roads safer.”
DWI Arrests and Deaths on the Decline
Through education, enhanced enforcement and awareness, an increasing number of motorists are choosing to drive sober. The 24,862 DWI arrests in 2017 is a 31 percent decrease in the last 10 years.
The overall trend also shows fewer motorists losing their lives due to alcohol. In 2017, preliminary numbers show that 72 people died from drunk driving-related crashes, compared with 129 people in 2008, a 44 percent decline.
A DWI offense can result in the loss of a driver’s license for up to a year, thousands of dollars in costs and possible jail time. Repeat DWI offenders, as well as first-time offenders arrested at 0.16 and above alcohol-concentration level, must use ignition interlock in order to regain legal driving privileges or face at least one year without a driver’s license. Offenders with three or more offenses are required to use interlock for three to six years, or they will never regain driving privileges.
Commit to a Sober Ride
- Plan for a safe ride — designate a sober driver, use a cab/public transportation or stay at the location of the celebration.
- Speak Up – Offer to be a designated driver or be available to pick up a loved one anytime, anywhere.
- Buckle up — the best defense against a drunk driver.
- Report drunk driving — call 911 when witnessing impaired driving behavior. Be prepared to provide location, license plate number and observed dangerous behavior.
About the Minnesota Department Public Safety
DPS comprises 11 divisions where 2,100 employees operate programs in the areas of law enforcement, crime victim assistance, traffic safety, alcohol and gambling, emergency communications, fire safety, pipeline safety, driver licensing, vehicle registration and emergency management. DPS activity is anchored by three core principles: education, enforcement and prevention.
About the Office of Traffic Safety
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety (DPS-OTS) designs, implements and coordinates federally funded traffic safety enforcement and education programs to improve driver behaviors and reduce the deaths and serious injuries that occur on Minnesota roads. DPS-OTS also administers state funds for the motorcycle safety program and for the child seats for needy families program.
DPS-OTS is an anchoring partner of the state’s Toward Zero Deaths (TZD) traffic safety program. A primary vision of the TZD program is to create a safe driving culture in Minnesota in which motorists support a goal of zero road fatalities by practicing and promoting safe and smart driving behavior. TZD focuses on the application of four strategic areas to reduce crashes – education, enforcement, engineering, and emergency medical and trauma response.
Recent DPS-OTS Activity and Statistics
445 Minnesota Street, Suite 100 | Saint Paul, Minnesota 55101-5155 | dps.mn.gov