LATHROP – Planning on having a drink or a toke for the road?
Lathrop Police deputy Chris Sterni thanks you in advance for adding to his already stellar numbers.
On Monday night the 11-year Lathrop Police veteran was honored by the Lathrop City Council for statistics that have earned him an award from Mothers Against Drunk Driving – at both the local and the state level – for three years running.
Try this on for size: Of the 80 arrests that were made last year for driving under the influence in Lathrop, Sterni was responsible for 50 of them.
He’s made more than 350 DUI arrests in his career, and according to Lathrop Police Lieutenant James Hood, those numbers will likely increase.
While every deputy is trained in the basics on how to detect a driver under the influence of alcohol, Sterni just got back from a training session that will help him discern whether somebody has used drugs – legal or otherwise – to the point of impairment.
“He’s one of the finest deputies that we have working here today,” Hood said. “He’s hardworking and spends his entire shift out in the field responding to calls for service from residents in the community – the kind of deputy that doesn’t need supervision.
“When he’s not doing that, he seeks other cases like finding drivers that are under the influence. He’s very professional, and if he stops somebody and finds that they’re not under the influence, he lets them go. He’s very thorough. You couldn’t ask for anybody better.”
On April 22, Sterni is being honored in Ripon by Mothers Against Drunk Driving for working to take impaired motorists off the roadways. He’ll receive another award from the organization at a statewide event in Sacramento in June.
And Sterni’s success could be contagious.
While he’s only been back at work for a brief while since receiving the advanced training in drug recognition, he’s already effected five arrests – prompting Hood to lobby Lathrop Police Chief Danelle Hohe to send additional deputies to receive the training in an effort to combat the rising trend of people driving under the influence of substances other than alcohol.
His legacy, however, will live on long after he finally decides to hang up the uniform.
According to Hohe, the award presented deputies based on exemplary work in the field of taking drunk and drugged drivers off of the street, from that point forward, will be known as the “Sterni Award.”
He received the first of three consecutive “Celebrate California Heroes” awards from California MADD in 2011 when he made 65 DUI arrests – more than half of all that were tallied that year.
Sterni was presented with a plaque by the Lathrop City Council and the Lathrop Police Department. His family was on hand to witness the ceremony.