(Auburn Hills Police Chief Doreen Olko, Dec. 3, 2017)
Auburn Hills, MI – Just before Thanksgiving we received an interesting delivery at the station for Officer Ian Hodges. It was simply dropped off with very little fanfare. Ian wasn’t working so my assistant Quentessa took custody of the box and when she checked inside she found this very interesting glass plaque award. It was clearly expensive and very well designed. It said: “In Recognition of Officer Hodges.” “We thank you and Deeply Appreciate Your Service in Keeping Our Community Safe!” The box contained a photo of a family and on the back was a note:
On Sept 6th you pulled me over for drunk driving with a BAC of 0.21. I am thankful that you got to me before I caused harm or death to someone. I read about another person on the same road and same BAC that will spend 25 years in prison for killing a mother. The only difference between him and me is your service. Thank you.
The sender signed it from himself and his family.
Officer Hodges was quite surprised and when he saw the name he remembered the case. Ian is in his second year as an officer. He understands his role is in keeping our roads safe and why it is important to hold impaired drivers accountable for their choice to drink and drive. It isn’t always easy to do. Some people fight or try to escape. Often people who are driving drunk tell the officers that the arrest will ruin their lives as they beg the officers to let them go.
I am certain that Officer Hodges will remember this case for the rest of his life – the award is a tangible message that this particular driver came to understand that his arrest saved his life or someone else’s. He now recognizes how close he came to losing the lovely family whose picture he sent.
Every now and then we hear from those people out there who are our critics and want to believe that traffic enforcement is a big money grab or that we are just picking on people. They are entitled to their opinion. We know, however, the pain and suffering caused by drunk and drugged driving crashes. We are the ones who deliver death messages in the middle of the night to unsuspecting families. We are the ones who are witness to mangled bodies on the road or helping the Fire Department cut people from the twisted metal hoping to save their lives so that they too can have an opportunity to recognize the error of their ways and change their lives for the better.
Officer Hodges is happy for this man and proud that he was part of what he hopes is a positive change in this man’s life.