The following press release was issued by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.
Edina, Minn., Aug. 14, 2020 — There are law enforcement officers and prosecutors across Minnesota whose passion for taking impaired drivers off the road make them All-Stars in traffic safety.
Officer Ben Wenande and Officer Jesse Penman are playing to win against the dangers of impaired driving in Edina, Minnesota. Officers Wenande and Penman, took a combined 188 impaired motorists off the streets in 2019. To recognize their efforts, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety (DPS-OTS) honored Officers Wenande and Penman as a 2019 DWI All-Star for their dedication to protecting lives in Edina.
Among their arrests were serious violations that could have turned tragic for the driver and others if they hadn’t made the traffic stops.
“It can be easy for someone to think ‘I feel fine’ after drinking and then get behind the wheel, risking it all with one bad decision,” said Officer Wenande. “What’s not so easy is living with that decision after you take a life, seriously injure another person or are facing huge financial penalties and a lost license. I am honored to be an All-Star, and I want motorists to always remember that I’m looking out for their safety because their lives matter to me and to so many others in their lives.”
A Team Effort
Officer Wenande, a five-year veteran of the agency, and Officer Penman, a three-year veteran of the agency are among 48 officers, deputies, troopers and prosecutors statewide on the DWI All-Star team. This is the 13th DWI All-Star Team selected for outstanding service in enforcement and prosecution of impaired driving.
“It’s scary to think how as you’re driving down the road, an impaired driver could be in that oncoming vehicle, driving behind you or approaching the intersection ahead of you,” said Chief David Nelson. “That’s why we need All-Stars like Officer Wenande and Penman. I’m very proud that they are a part of our team at the Edina Police Department and protecting lives in Edina.”
Smart Choices are Increasingly Saving Lives
The number of DWI arrests dropped from nearly 30,084 in 2010 to 27,378 in 2019, a 9 percent decrease.
Fewer motorists are losing their lives due to alcohol. In 2019, numbers show 89 people died from drunk driving-related crashes, compared with 112 people in 2010, a 26 percent decline.
In the 1960’s, more than half of all traffic deaths were related to drinking and driving. In 2019, drunk driving-related deaths were 24 percent of all traffic fatalities in Minnesota.
DWI All-Stars and Number of 2019 DWI Arrests
Greater Minnesota All-Stars
- Nate Curtiss, Austin Police – 31
- Taylor Halverson, Baxter Police – 54
- Lance Herbst, Baxter Police – 32
- Matt Gerving, Becker County Sheriff – 37
- Anthony Petrie, Beltrami County Sheriff – 64
- Jeff Amey, Bemidji Police – 81
- Bidal Duran Jr., Bemidji Police – 39
- Tyler Sinclair – Big Lake Police – 43
- Adam Suckow, Blue Earth County Sheriff – 60
- Chris Arkell, Blue Earth County Sheriff – 48
- Chris Leonard, Buffalo Police – 73
- Taylor Znajda, Crookston Police – 30
- Corey Sammons, Douglas County Sheriff – 39
- Jamie Meyer, Mower County Sheriff – 62
- Allen Mekash, Otter Tail County Sheriff – 32
- Jeff Rowden, Pipestone County Sheriff – 32
- Eric Christenson, Rochester Police – 41
- Darin Vossen, St. Cloud Police – 163
- Chad Myers, Winona County Sheriff – 56
- James Dunn, Nicollet County Attorney’s Office
- Zachary Borchardt, Minnesota State Patrol District 2700 (Duluth) – 100
- Eric Bormann, Drug Recognition Evaluator, Minnesota State Patrol District 2100 (Rochester) – 23
DWI Total: 1,140
Twin Cities All-Stars
- Eric Derner, Anoka County Sheriff – 58
- Cory Christianson, Apple Valley Police – 95
- Dan Stefczak, Blaine Police – 68
- Jon Grimes, Dakota County Sheriff – 53
- Chad Streiff, Eden Prairie Police – 79
- Ben Wenande, Edina Police – 131
- Jesse Penman, Edina Police – 57
- Jacob Johnson, Inver Grove Heights Police – 40
- Charlie Nelson, Oakdale Police – 42
- Randall Axtell, St. Paul Police – 154
- Alex Graham, St. Paul Police – 109
- Adam Crain, Drug Recognition Evaluator, Savage Police – 12
- Vadim Romanets, Shakopee Police – 36
- Cortnie Miranowski, Shakopee Police – 36
- Mike Mallet, Stillwater Police – 37
- Michael Ramos, Washington County Sheriff – 112
- Antonio Brown, White Bear Lake Police – 119
- AJ Veenendall, Woodbury Police – 59
- Tommy Satele, Woodbury Police - 50
- Amy J. Tripp-Steiner, Minneapolis City Attorney’s Office
- Gustavo Culbeaux, Minnesota State Patrol District 2500 (Golden Valley) – 179
- Keenan Jones, Minnesota State Patrol District 2500 (Golden Valley) – 95
- Steven Lindbeck, Minnesota State Patrol District 2500 (Golden Valley) – 89
- Zachary Hansen, Minnesota State Patrol District 2400 (Oakdale) – 126
- Kyle Koeberl, Minnesota State Patrol District 2400 (Oakdale) – 92
- Kendall LeMay, Minnesota State Patrol District 2400 (Oakdale) – 102
DWI Total: 2,030
- Loss of license for up to a year, thousands of dollars in costs and possible jail time.
- Repeat DWI offenders, as well as first-time offenders arrested at 0.16 and above alcohol-concentration level, must use ignition interlock in order to regain legal driving privileges or face at least one year without a driver’s license.
- Offenders with three or more offenses are required to use interlock for three to six years, or they will never regain driving privileges.
Speak Up and Plan a Sober Ride
- Plan for a safe ride — designate a sober driver, use a safe, alternative transportation option, or stay at the location of the celebration.
- Speak up — Offer to be a designated driver or be available to pick up a loved one anytime, anywhere. If you see an impaired person about to get behind the wheel, get them a safe ride home.
- Buckle up — the best defense against a drunk driver.
- Report drunk driving — Call 911 when witnessing impaired driving behavior. Be prepared to provide location, license plate number and observed dangerous behavior.