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Cape officers honored for making 100 DUI arrests in 2009

By Staff | Apr 15, 2010

Two Cape Coral police officers were recently recognized for making more than 100 DUI arrests in 2009.
Officers Joe Cieslinski and James Carson received the “Century Achievers, Mothers Against Drunk Driving 100+ Award” in March during a luncheon at the Tallahassee-Leon County Civic Center. MADD presents the award every year to law enforcement officers who meet or exceed 100 arrests for DUI.
SW Florida MADD thanked local law enforcement officers for their dedication.
“We will never know how many lives are saved and injuries are prevented from taking the impaired drivers off our roads,” MADD wrote in a prepared statement. “One life that has been turned upside down as a result of someone making a bad decision to drive impaired is too many, so their hard work and dedication is greatly appreciated.”
Cieslinski and Carson have been with the Cape Coral Police Department since 2006. Cieslinski said he has been with the Traffic Services Division’s DUI Unit for three years now, and Carson marked his first year with the unit in 2009.
Cieslinski made 108 DUI arrests last year, and it was the first time that he had been recognized by MADD with the Century Achievers award.
“It’s a really good feeling, a really good accomplishment,” he said.
According to Cieslinski, he was unable to hit 100 DUI arrests during his first year with the unit because he took time off for his new baby and there were two deaths in the family. Cieslinski did come close though with a total of 89.
“I was close to getting it the first year. I came up a little short,” he said.
Carson estimated that he made about 108 arrests as well in 2009. It was also his first time receiving the Century Achievers award from MADD.
“The number is not important to me. It’s removing the impaired drivers from the roadways that’s important,” he said.
Carson added that his life has been touched by a DUI fatality, which plays into what he does. His sister-in-law was involved in a single-vehicle crash and died.
“One reason I’m attracted to the DUI Unit is it does save lives. It does make a difference,” he said. “The mom driving home with her kids doesn’t have to worry about someone who is impaired crashing into her vehicle and causing injury or death.”
Cieslinski agreed that making the roads safer is a major incentive.
“That’s the number one reason why I do it, that’s the reason why I love it,” he said.
The Cape Police Department recorded nine traffic homicides in 2009. Carson pointed out that seven of those fatalities involved impaired drivers.
Both men attended the March event.
“It was exciting to see all the officers that were there,” Carson said, adding that there were more than 16,000 DUI arrests represented at the luncheon. “To know that we were able to take that many impaired drivers off the road was pretty astounding to me.”
MADD also recognized the CCPD’s Platoon 4 for its “exceptional dedication.” Platoon 4 removed 524 impaired drivers from the city’s roadways in 2009.
From the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, Cpl. Leonard Gould and Deputies Glenn Jones and Robert Shaw were also honored with the Century Achievers award.