California Cop Specializing in DUI Retires
DUI Officer had 2,000 DUI arrests in 30 years
When Officer Wes Morgan was a young police officer, he had to perform CPR on a 15-year-old girl who was gravely injured in a DUI-related car crash. That teen girl died, and from that point on, Morgan committed himself to preventing drunk driving and the injuries and deaths that it caused.
Over the course of his 30-year career in California, he arrested about 2,000 suspects for driving under the influence. Now, on the eve of his retirement, Morgan took a look back on a career's worth of good work with the Silicon Valley Mercury News, from busting those would-be DUI accidents to helping to establish Livermore, California’s Every 15 Minutes program. The program teaches area high school students about the dangers of driving under the influence in a dramatic, impactful way.
“I hope there are people that are out there alive because of something I did,” 51-year-old Morgan said.
Morgan always wanted to be a police officer in Livermore, where he also grew up. He became a cadet as an 18-year-old, and a sworn officer when he was 20. He even arrested people in bars that he wasn’t legally allowed to enter.
Early on in his career, Morgan applied to be a dedicated traffic cop. When people ask Morgan how he made so many DUI arrests, he said that often he would make a traffic stop for a broken taillight or some other minor infraction, and in the process learn that a driver was drunk.
Morgan is also a good friend to the local chapters of Mothers Against Drunk Driving. “It really puts a smile on my face to talk about him,” Natasha Thomas, the program coordinator for MADD Bay Area, told the Mercury News. “He gets that one man or woman off the road, he’s saving someone’s life. He’s basically saved 2,000 lives, in our eyes.”
In addition to traffic stops, Morgan has investigated and reconstructed thousands of collisions and accidents.
His influence has gone beyond those that he’s arrested. His coworkers praise him as a positive influence, and even those that he has arrested have written him letters to thank him for treating him so respectfully.
After retirement, Morgan, the face of DUI enforcement in the community, hopes to continue raising DUI awareness, and to help other officers who will move into the role that he filled.