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MADD honors MPD officers for 136 DUI arrests
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Four Manteca police officers were credited for 136 arrests of drunken drivers in 2009 by the Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD) at a regional awards luncheon Tuesday noon in Ripon. They are front to back Bill Walmer, Gregg Beall, Dan Chestnut and David Bright. - photo by GLENN KAHL
The Mothers Against Drunk Drivers held their annual awards luncheon in Ripon on Tuesday where four Manteca officers were cited for a total of 136 DUI arrests in 2009.

Officer Dan Chestnut had 61 arrests, Bill Walmer, Dave Bright and Gregg Beall had 25 DUI arrests each during the last year. Ripon motor officer Stephen Meece was credited with 37 arrests with two officers from Lathrop Police services totaling 54 between them.  Deputy Manuel Andrade logged in with 29 and Deputy Christopher Sterni had 25.

A total of 80 officers from Oakdale, Ceres, Turlock, Modesto and the sheriff’s offices and the California Highway patrol all received plaques and 23152 pins signifying the number of drunk drivers they arrested and saw prosecuted.  With the various chiefs and command staffs attending the ceremonies, there were a total of 145 in attendance at the Ripon Community Center.

Christopher Murphy, director of the California Office of Traffic Safety and Brenda Frachiseur, assistant state executive director for MADD spoke at the luncheon – lauding Murphy for his support of her program.  “He is the one who allows MADD to do what they do – in support of the DUI check points,” she said.

“When they (officers) need something, we are there,” she stressed.

Frachiseur is seeking additional volunteers to serve in the Mothers Against Drunk Drivers’ effort from the four counties represented at Tuesday’s event: San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Amador and Calaveras.

One of her volunteers, Jill Mason, was serving as a hostess at the registration table just inside the Ripon Hall.  The young woman has a reason for volunteering in the movement – from her wheelchair.  Jill and her boyfriend were riding bicycles near Sacramento in training for an upcoming competition when they were hit by a drunk driver and he was killed.

Another young volunteer sitting next to Jill had just finished college and an internship toward her current position of providing solace to family survivors of drunken driver.  The MADD director said the need for more volunteers in the program is acute.  Those interested in supporting the effort may call 1-800-426-6233 or look them up on their website.

MADD victim services are free and available for as long as the victim survivor is in need, Frachiseur said.  As with the two women welcoming the officers to the luncheon, advocates have themselves experienced the tragedy of a loss from a drunken driving crash.

The Mothers Against Drunk Drivers advocates serve as valuable resources through the legal processes that often follow a fatal alcohol induced crash.  They provide emotional support and information by telephone or in person.