Brown, a third-year officer with UofL’s Police Department, recently received the Governor’s Impaired Driving Enforcement Award from the governor’s office and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet for his efforts to catch and arrest drunk drivers. The UofL Police Department also was recognized for its efforts, which led to 192 drunk-driving arrests in 2010-11.

Brown was singled out for making 148 of those arrests. In fact, he arrested more drunk drivers than any other officer in a mid-sized police department (25-50 officers) in Kentucky.

He caught most of those drivers on major streets – Third and Fourth Streets, Eastern Parkway and Central Avenue – around Belknap Campus. The vast majority – Brown estimates more than 70 percent – are not college students.

“Statistics show that impaired drivers kill many more people than other drivers,” Brown said. “When you put others at risk, it’s not fair. I don’t want to see someone get killed over someone else’s mistake to drink too much alcohol.”

Brown attributes part of his success in catching drunk drivers to location: UofL is surrounded by major streets that lead to some of the most well-known party areas in town, such as Fourth Street Live and Bardstown Road. He also notes that his shift, which runs from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., is peak time for people who visit bars and restaurants.

“Rarely do you find (a drunk driver) on the mid shift or (during) days,” he said. “If you find one in the morning, they’re usually left over from the night before.”

Brown does more than chase drunk drivers. He spends much of his time patrolling campus, checking buildings and talking to students. With officers constantly on patrol, Brown said he feels students are in good hands.

“I would say (campus) is safer than most people expect it to be,” he said, adding that crimes such as burglaries are down from previous years. “We have more officers in a condensed area than, say, Louisville Metro. I think we do a good job.”

Still, drunk driving is a concern, particularly in a heavily populated area such as a college campus. Brown’s efforts, and those of UofL’s other officers, should help reassure students, employees and their families that UofL is serious about protecting its students, Police Chief Wayne Hall.

“Parents expect their children to be safe when they send them to our campus,” he said. “We owe it to the students and their families to be vigilant in getting drunk drivers off the road.

“Officer Brown’s efforts are making a difference,” he added. “As a parent, I would sleep better knowing officers like officer Brown are working at our university.”

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John Drees
John Drees is a 32-year veteran in the Office of Communications and Marketing. As interim senior associate vice president/director of campus communication, he works closely with the president, provost and other senior administrators, oversees the Office of Communications and Marketing, including media relations, marketing, broadcast, social media, internal communication, crisis communication, visitor services and special events and activities. A former sports editor for the Voice Newspapers, he was a regular contributor to a variety of publications, including the Kentucky Sports Report and the Courier-Journal. A poor but enthusiastic golfer, he is an avid Cardinal sports fan. He also loves the Detroit Lions, so pity him.