ROSEBURG, Ore. — For Dave Lund, who was a teacher in Roseburg for 17 years before becoming a police officer, there’s one call he’ll always remember.
He was one of the first officers on scene at a crash off Melrose Road. The occupants, high school students, had been killed on impact, he said.
He recognized two of the passengers right away as former students.
Lund said seeing the consequences of drunken driving firsthand helped lead him to focus his career on getting drunken drivers off the road.
“I’m so passionate about this,” he said. “It’s such a preventable crime, and the cost is so huge.”
A statewide law enforcement task force last weekend honored the 10-year Roseburg police veteran with the DUI Enforcement Officer of the Year award.
The Roseburg Police Department nominated Lund, 50, for making 84 of the department’s 211 DUI arrests last year, the most of any officer. Lund also won grants to combat drunken driving, campaigned against impaired driving in the community and produced a series of vignettes that run before movies at local theaters.
He said it has helped that he has an innate ability to detect impairment in drivers, as he discovered early in his career.
“That skill was always there,” he said.
Each year, the Oregon DUI Multi-Disciplinary Task Force recognizes a state trooper, city officer and sheriff’s deputy at a training conference.
Lund said he was inspired at last year’s conference to step up his efforts to arrest drunken drivers. He set a goal for himself of 52 arrests for 2012. He made 40 DUI arrests in 2011.
He reached 52 by Aug. 31.
Last year, Lund obtained for his department a grant for the purchase of pedal carts and goggles that simulate the effects of alcohol on driving, according to Roseburg police.
He also, with his iPhone and Macintosh laptop, produced a series of 15-second commercials based on a public safety campaign originally developed by a Virginia nonprofit organization, “Top Ten Reasons to get a DUI.”
Reason No. 4 — “Jail Time is a Cheap, Unpaid Vacation” — features Lund’s friend Rick Green sitting in a cell as the door closes.
Although as an officer he responds to all types of calls, Lund says when he’s not responding to incidents, he’s looking for signs of impaired driving. He said most people he pulls over are fine to drive; the 84 arrested last year represent just a small portion of the 1,500 car stops he made last year.
Prior to entering law enforcement, Lund was a sixth-grade teacher at Hucrest Elemenary School. He was drawn to the excitement of police work and became a reserve officer a year after graduating from the University of Oregon. He worked as a reserve officer for most of his teaching career and became a full-time officer in 2003.