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Texas officer makes a career out of nailing DUIs

By Kelly Royal   
for the News-Sentinel

In his career with the Fort Wayne Police Department, Sgt. Jon Bonar, 46, has assisted in the apprehension of 4,000 drunken-drivers.  He serves the city of Fort Wayne daily by keeping drunk and impaired drivers off the road and training young officers to do the same.

We arrest people from all different segments of society, Bonar said. The good people and the bad people the one thing they have in common is they tend to drive drunk.

As master instructor for the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy, Bonar knows the next best way to curb drunken driving  besides roadside pullovers  is in the classroom. He teaches  at the academy in Indianapolis and with the Fort Wayne Police Academy, specializing in D.U.I detection education.

Bonar teaches  new officers to recognize impaired-driving behavior, what to look for at traffic stops, how to properly document arrests, and how to testify for cases as they are takento court.

Fort Wayne police make 30-50 drunken-driving arrests every weekend, according to Bonar. Serving as a mentor, Bonar builds from his own experiences to stress the importance of D.U.I enforcement.

The sense of satisfaction that comes from training and his dedication to keeping drunken drivers off the road stems from personal tragedy. Twenty-seven years ago, Bonar lost a  high school friend after he was hit  and instantly killed by a drunken driver while riding a motorcycle. Soon afterward, Bonar helped start a local Mothers Against Drunk Driving chapter and remains involved today as a liaison officer.

The circumstances of his friends death have remained with him and are  what led Bonar toward his lifes work.

I go out and I look hard for drunken drivers, Bonar said. Unfortunately, they are not hard to find.

During his 17 years with the  police department, he has received numerous awards through the city, county, state and a national award from the International Association of Chiefs of Police.

In November,  Bonar received  his second award for Outstanding Regional Coordinator at the 11th Annual Operation Pullover banquet organized by the Governors Council on Impaired and Dangerous Driving.

*Recent drunken-driving stats*

According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2004, 16,694 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes.

At an average of one almost every half-hour, these deaths constituted about  39 percent of the 42,636 total traffic fatalities.

  Source:  www.Madd.org (http://www.Madd.org)

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