Gilroy Police Officer Rene Arbizu has received a MADD California Hero Award for his contributions to the campaign against drunk driving. MADD is known also as Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
He led the Gilroy Police Department with 25 DUI arrests in the 2011 calendar year. For 2012, the officer has made 26 so far.
Morgan Hill Police Officer Steve Pennington also received an award recognizing the 350 DUI arrests he's made since March 29, 2002. His goal is to make 100 DUI arrests in 2012.
More than 600 people from 53 of the state's 58 counties attended a recognition last month that honors law enforcement officers and agencies who've excelled in efforts to stop drunken driving, promote public education about its dangers and prevent underage drinking.
A total of 170 officers from a variety of law enforcement agencies around the state received the California Hero Award. That includes regional law enforcement agencies that also serve Los Altos and Los Altos Hills, the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Department and the California Highway Patrol:
Santa Clara County Sheriff's Deputy Samy Tarazi, who has had the most DUI arrests for the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office for the last two consecutive years, according to his nomination remarks.
California Highway Patrol Officer Daniel Gunter. The CHP remarks nominating him said, 'Officer Gunter is to be commended for his professionalism and commitment to apprehending the impaired driver. In 2011, Officer Gunter made 107 arrests for DUI. This is the most of any California Highway Patrol officer in the area covering the San Francisco peninsula (San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara counties)."
“The officers recognized at this event have made huge sacrifices in their lives to become the top in the field of traffic safety and enforcement," Silas Miers, MADD California Law Enforcement Program Specialist, said in a prepared statement. "These are the top officers in the state for DUI Enforcement and many have additional duties within the department.”
MADD is a nonprofit organization dedicated to combating drunk driving. The statewide recognition dinner was held at the Hyatt Regency in Sacramento. Funding for the recognition program was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.