Austin officer named DWI enforcement ‘all-star’

Published 7:50 am Thursday, June 28, 2012

The state’s top DWI enforcers — including officers from Austin and Albert Lea — were honored Monday during the Minnesota Twins’ pre-game festivities at Target Field.

The squad of 31 law enforcement officers and prosecutors was led by Minnesota State Patrol Trooper Mark Hibbard, who made 241 DWI arrests in 2011. Austin officer Jeff McCormack and Albert Lea officer David Doppelhammer were among the 31 top DWI enforcers, as well. McCormack made 43 DWI arrests in 2011, according to the Austin Police Department, and he has made 540 DWI arrests in the past 10 years.

Police Capt. Dave McKichan attributes McCormack’s success to his keen eye for illegal behavior, especially when speaking with drivers.

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“He has a very keen eye when speaking with the driver and identifying drivers that are under the influence,” McKichan said.

But it’s not about racking up statistics, either.

“For us, it’s not a numbers game,” McKichan said. “… Somewhere in that number is a life saved.”

This is the fifth DWI Enforcer All-Star squad, presented by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety. The all-stars are selected for outstanding service in enforcement and in prosecution of impaired driving.

State trooper Jack Tiegs — who led the state in DWI arrests in 2009 and 2010 — had the second-highest DWI arrest total in 2011 with 206.

“These are just a few of the hundreds of law enforcement officers in Minnesota who are committed to arresting drunk drivers to ensure motorists make it home safely,” said Donna Berger, director of the DPS Office of Traffic Safety.

Last year in Minnesota, alcohol-impaired crashes (crashes involving drivers or pedestrians with an 0.08 alcohol-concentration or higher) accounted for 111 deaths — 30 percent of the state’s total traffic deaths. In 2011, 29,257 motorists were arrested for DWI.