Boise Police Honored by MADD
Boise, Sept. 10, 2008 - Boise Police were honored by Mothers Against Drunk Driving with several special awards given during MADD's 20th Anniversary celebration today at the Boise Depot.
The Boise Police Night STEP team, a team of officers that specializes in DUI enforcement, was honored with the 1st annual Joy Trent Award for Outstanding Law Enforcement. About 20 past and present members of the Night STEP team attended the event and were recognized by MADD for their efforts and achievements, not only in enforcing DUI laws, but also for educating the community about the dangers of drunk driving.
The award was named for Joy Trent, who was killed by a drunk driver. The Joy Trent Award for Outstanding Law Enforcement was presented by her parents, Carol and Jim Trent. Night STEP Sgt. Lori Sperry accepted the honor on the teams behalf. Sgt. Sperry, and many of those in attendance were greatly moved when Carol Trent noted that Sgt. Sperry us just one year older than her daughter, Joy would be today if she were alive.
Several Boise Police Victim Witness Coordinators also attended the MADD Anniversary event. The Idaho Victim Witness Association was honored with the 1st annual Michael Garrow Award for Outstanding Victim Services.
Boise Police Officer Casey Hancuff, an eight year veteran of the Night STEP team, was honored at the MADD ceremony for making his 2000th DUI arrest, which occurred Saturday, Sept. 6th. Boise Chief of Police Michael Masterson and Deputy Chief Jim Kerns presented Officer Hancuff with a Chief's Commendation for his extraordinary accomplishment. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has recognized the Boise Police Night STEP team as one of the most effective and productive in the country. Officer Hancuff has been a leader on the team in recent years with more than 300 DUI arrests each year.
Betty Stadler founded Mothers Against Drunk Driving 20 years ago when her daughter, Carol Stadler Price was killed by a drunk driver. Mrs. Stadler wrote two poems that were read at the event, one about MADD volunteers, and other other about her daughter. The poems brought home the impact drunk driving has on families and the community, and the importance of continuing to strengthen efforts to reduce the crime.
"It's times like these when we see and feel the real human tragedies that come from drunk driving," said Chief Masterson. "It reminds us why we're out there, working late nights and holiday weekends, trying our best to keep drunk drivers off the streets. MADD and this community have our commitment that drunk driving enforcement will remain a priority for Boise Police."
The following is an article written by reporter Katy Moeller of the Idaho Statesman:
DUI patrol is Boise officer's mission
Idaho Statesman, The (Boise, ID) - September 12, 2008
Author: Katy Moeller
Boise police Officer Casey Hancuff has a lot of experience with drunken drivers - not just because he recently logged his 2,000th DUI arrest, the most of any active Boise police officer.
Drunken driving has impacted his own life.
Hancuff was rear-ended by a drunken driver when he was a Boise State University student. He grew up hearing how his uncle was killed by a drunken driver one Christmas Eve. And his wife is still dealing with the effects of her own run-in.
"My wife was hit by a drunk driver right out of high school. She had a fractured skull," said Hancuff , a 44-year-old Boise native who has been with the DUI patrol team for the past eight of his 14 years with the Police Department. "She has lifelong neck injuries."
Though he deals with drunken drivers and the havoc they wreak every day, Hancuff has been as shocked as anyone by the spate of recent DUI accidents resulting in serious injuries.
"It's heartbreaking," he said.
He said one of the saddest DUI cases he's ever investigated involved an elderly couple who were hit in a crash around Christmas time.
"The husband was killed instantly, right next to his bride of 50 years," he said. "She was in the hospital a long, long time."
Hancuff said people often think his name is a joke; it's not. Others in his family are or were in law enforcement, including his brother and sister.
The seven-member DUI patrol team works a modified shift, from 6 p.m. to 4 a.m. four days a week.
"I like working those hours," Hancuff said. "That seems to be when I'm needed the most."
The most arrests Hancuff has ever made in a shift is 5. The most in a week, 15 or 16, he said. He said one of the ways to maximize arrests is to go where he knows people are drinking.
"It's location, location, location. You don't go where the drunks aren't," he said.
He said there are many drunken drivers who aren't "driving on the sidewalk."
"They're just not driving at their best. We make a lot of stops," he said, noting that national statistics show that police capture less than 10 percent of drunken drivers.
Hancuff was honored this week by Boise police Chief Michael Masterson.
"It's nice, but honestly, I'm much more excited about the team award," Hancuff said. "I work with a bunch of guys that are very, very good at what they do. They inspire me to work hard and stay in the hunt."
Mothers Against Drunk Driving presented the team with the first Joy Trent Award for Outstanding Law Enforcement. The award honored all officers, past and present, for their service on the team.