One officer with the Selma Police Department is working to change the recent negative perception of police in the media. Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) recently recognized Officer Dwayne McPherson for being the top arresting officer for impaired drivers during 2020.
“Officer McPherson’s MADD Award is based on his annual  DUI arrests in keeping our community safe,” said Selma Police Chief Joseph Gomez in an official statement. “He additionally has a reputation for… addressing gang crime and violence… and has therefore been instrumental in reducing gang shootings and very possibly gang murders in the City of Selma.”
This has been McPherson’s second recognition in the past three years. Other officers from the Bay and Fresno areas were also recognized.
Officer McPherson has been with the Selma Police Department since 2017. He currently coordinates the department’s Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) and was previously assigned to the Multi-Agency Gang Enforcement Consortium (MAGEC).
Police officers remove potentially dangerous drivers from the road when they arrest a driver impaired by excess substance use be it alcohol or something else, McPherson said.
“Unfortunately, vehicle stops related to impaired driving are a common occurrence in law enforcement,” Officer McPherson commented in interview. “The City of Selma… is no different.”
The Selma Police Department routinely conducts DUI investigations but not all lead to an arrest. McPherson indicated the main goal of any officer conducting a traffic stop – including himself – should be to have a positive interaction with the vehicle’s occupant(s).
“Traffic stops quite often turn deadly,” says McPherson. “It is also an opportunity to educate drivers on whatever infraction led to the stop. If I am able to help someone become a better driver… even if a citation isn’t issued, I would say it is a successful stop.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control, California had 10,327 drunk driving-related deaths from 2003 to 2012.
Selma locally saw a decrease in DUI arrests in 2020; this can be attributed to the COVID-19 Pandemic and statewide restrictions limiting access to socializing in places where people would normally consume alcohol before driving under the influence.
Officer McPherson’s law enforcement presence in his community isn’t a buzzkill; he’s there to save lives. The public exists in an unspoken partnership with law enforcement in order to keep communities safe. Officers do their best to remove drunk drivers from the road but they can’t be everywhere which is where public participation can help by calling in possible drunk drivers.
To view the livestream of the award ceremony, go to https://youtu.be/Uw3A6kp-3p0.