Porter County honors top cops for DUI arrests
By Amy Lavalley Post-Tribune correspondent December 13, 2012 3:34PM
Sheriff David Lain congratulates officer Paul Czupryn during an awards banquet for the Porter County Drunk Driving Task Force in Valparaiso Thursday Dec. 13, 2012. Czupryn lead all county officer during the past year with 77 arrests for driving under the influence. | Andy Lavalley~Sun-Times Media
Top DUI officers
Porter Police Department (22 arrests)
First place: Martin Gonzalez and Tawni Komisarcik (nine arrests each)
Burns Harbor Police Department (41 arrests)
First place: Adam Zosso (14 arrests)
Second place: Jeremy McHargue (12 arrests)
Indiana State Police (51 arrests)
First place: Lawrence McFarrin (12 arrests)
Kouts Police Department (62 arrests)
First place: Dale Marshall (51 arrests)
Chesterton Police Department (89 arrests)
First place: Nicholas Brown (22 arrests)
Second place: Troy Allen (17 arrests)
Hebron Police Department (93 arrests)
First place: Travis Thomas (19 arrests)
Second place: Joshua Noel (seven arrests)
Valparaiso Police Department (138 arrests)
First place: Andrew McIntyre (16 arrests)
Second place: Patrick Yokovich (13 arrests)
Portage Police Department (310 arrests)
First place: Roger Peele (42 arrests)
Second place: Rich Schmitt (27 arrests)
Porter County Sheriff’s Department (394 arrests)
First place: Paul Czupryn (77 arrests)
Second place: Jared Underhill (50 arrests)
Updated: January 15, 2013 11:26AM
VALPARAISO — Police officers from departments throughout Porter County were applauded Thursday for their efforts in arresting drunken drivers.
Police made 1,200 drunken driving arrests between Dec. 1, 2011, and Dec. 1 of this year, said Valparaiso Police Department Sgt. Michael Grennes, chairman of the Porter County Drunk Driving Task Force.
“That’s a huge number, one of the bigger ones in the past few years,” he said, adding that works out to about 3½ arrests a day, “and that’s just the ones we’re catching.”
The recognition, held at Strongbow Inn, has been held for at least the past 15 years before Christmas, and helps create awareness about the dangers of drunken driving while the party season is in full swing, Grennes said.
“It’s a reminder to people to get a ride home,” he said.
In all, 16 officers were honored for making the most arrests in nine police departments serving the county, including Indiana State Police. Another 25 officers received honorable mentions.
Police can never put a number on the lives they’ve impacted by arresting drunken driving, including people who were not injured — and the drivers themselves — because intoxicated drivers were taken off the roads, said Lt. Jerry Williams, commander of the state police’s Lowell post.
The officers, said Valparaiso Police Chief Michael Brickner, are doing an important job, regardless of which department they work for.
“Drunk drivers kill people,” he said. “The only difference is, they’re not using a loaded gun; they’re using 1,000 pounds of steel.”
Arresting impaired drivers has special meaning for Portage Police Department, said Chief Troy Williams, because about 10 years ago, a drunken driver killed one of the department’s dispatchers while she was on her way to work.
“It still haunts us. We take it very personally,” he said.
The Porter County Sheriff’s Department has witnessed a 45 percent increase in driving under the influence arrests in the past two years, Sheriff David Lain said, adding he doesn’t think it’s an increase in the crime, as much as growing patrols.
Still, he called the figures disheartening.
“When are we as a society going to get it?” he said. “It’s not that hard to figure out: Don’t drink and drive.”