I would extend a hearty congratulations to SBPD Officer Christina Ortega for arresting more people for DUI in Santa Barbara County than any other cop, except that some of those people are my clients. I don't think they would appreciate my doing so. I do, however, think we need DUI laws and police officers to enforce them. We also need courts and prosecutors to dole out pronouncements of guilt and punishment. We need a lot of things to combat the scourge of drinking and driving that burdens our highways. For instance, we need taxis and other forms of public transportation. We are a society too dependent on cars and, as is vogue to point out, foreign oil. But let's give props to taxi drivers. I can't remember ever hearing about a taxi driver getting any reward whatsoever. They don't get fancy uniforms, badges, pins, ribbons, placques, and other forms of praise. But why not? Don't they prevent DUI too? Of course they do. As one cabbie recently pointed out in an article in the Santa Barbara Independent about the various challenges facing the taxi industry in Santa Barbara, if there were no cab drivers the National Guard would be needed to come in and clean up the mess caused by drunk drivers (or words to that effect). I don't doubt it. Yet on nights when SBPD does not have a DUI enforcer on the beat, we don't see anything close to the carnage that the cabbie quoted in the article described. So, I know why cops get all the praise and cabbies get none: Being a cop is so dangerous and being a cabbie isn't. Right? Wrong. More taxi drivers are killed in the line of duty than cops. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics has consistently counted taxi driving as one of the top ten most dangerous jobs. Law enforcement isn't even in the top ten.
I hereby congratulate the cabbies who keep our streets safe every night from drunk drivers. And, to the fine men and women in yellow, let's be careful out there!