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Clovis DUI Officer honored by MADD

Clovis DUI Officer honored by MADD:  The Fresno Bee article states Clovis Police Officer  Nicholas Mason was honored by the Mothers Against Drunk Driving organization at the 17th annual Statewide Law Enforcement and Community recognition event.  This award was given because Officer Mason had the most DUI Arrests during the last year of any officer in the Clovis Police Department.

As a DUI arrest in one thing, but there doesn't seem to be any oversight as to the legitimacy of a DUI arrest.  Was the person actually impaired or over .08 BAC when they were operating the vehicle?  Was the arrest truly based upon probable cause?  Was the checkpoint operated in a manner consistent with the Supreme Court rulings regarding checkpoints?

Also, we must keep in mind, one aspect of a DUI arrest that is overlooked by the public and many times, juries, is that an arrest is based upon the fairly low standard of probable cause.  In order to convict a person a person in our court system, the burden of proof demands no less than proof beyond a reasonable doubt.  The difference in these two standards is tremendous.  If we find the officer is doing his job right, and arresting a person based upon probable cause, then necessarily, a majority of the arrests should result in acquittals in the court of law.

Officer Mason makes a statement, a true statement, that, "“I knew just by taking at least one DUI driver off the street, I could potentially save someone's life.”  This is a heavy burden on any person, and no less a burden on an officer in the field.  If the officer makes a mistake, and lets an impaired driver drive away, they could potentially have let a fatal accident occur.  However, by arresting the person, the officer doesn't have to take a chance.  The officer has to make a decision in a short amount of time, on the side of the road, while listening to other radio calls, cars are passing by on the road, and the repercussions of their decision could haunt them if they do not arrest a suspected DUI Driver.  However, juries are given days to review the evidence, in the comfort of a court room, and no such repercussions are likely to occur if they are wrong.

These awards also speak to an officers motivation.  The award Mason was given at the Sheraton Grand Hotel in Sacramento.  He was honored as a "Hero" and received attention and an award.  Everybody wants to earn awards, be given respect, acknowledged as a hero in the community at nice hotels in the state capitol.  This alone provides added incentive, motivation, to make DUI arrests, for reasons other than "just doing my job" as many officers state.

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