HALTOM CITY — When Joe Earney from the Haltom City Police Department hits the road for his shift, beware.
“Do not drink and drive in Haltom City; we will catch you,”he said.
Earney, a 13-year veteran with the force, has caught plenty of offenders. He’s one of the top 10 officers in the state for DWI arrests using the LEADRS program, a web-based records management system that simplifies the DWI reporting process.
Earney’s tally for 2012: 121 arrests.
“I'm glad I stopped them and got them off the road,” the officer said.
Earney showed us video of one his most memorable arrests last November.
He rolled up to a car stopped at a highway exit after getting a 911 call from someone who was suspicious. Earney found the driver sleeping behind the wheel. The video shows Earney walking up to the car and taking a picture of the driver.
The flash woke him up; seconds later, he is seen driving away.
“He floored it,” said Earney. “He was still asleep, goes through a field and almost goes into a swimming pool.”
The man was not injured, but he served 30 days in jail.
As for his arrests, Earney says he has an advantage. He only works DWIs. He usually finds a spot along a major highway and waits for drivers who are speeding, weaving or struggling to stay on the road.
“We hit [Highway] 121 and [Loop] 820 real hard so that people know we are out there looking for them,” he said.
LEADRS, a grant program, is funded by Save A Life Foundation through the Texas Department of Transportation. According to the its website, the program has been implemented in more than 400 law enforcement departments in Texas, Arizona, Georgia and Oklahoma.
The system cuts down the DWI reporting process from five hours to nearly three; that gives officers more time to spend on the street.
“I can conceivably get out and do two DWIs a night," said Earney. “I've done three.”
Earney got an award for his work, but he said the biggest reward is making a difference.
“You think that amount of people driving drunk, how many people we did probably save last year,” he said.
Three officers from Lewisville PD, and one officer from Denton, Rockwall, Grapevine and Grand Praire police departments also made the top 10 list for the most DWI arrests under theLEADRS program.