PHOENIX -- The holiday weekend will no doubt be a busy one for DUI officers, but one officer in particular knows all too well how important it is to take drunks off the road.
Sgt. Tom Jensen is the DUI sergeant for the Scottsdale Police Department. His job has become his personal mission. He was hit by an alleged drunk driver back in October. Investigators tell 3TV the woman's blood-alcohol level was 0.20, more than twice the legal limit of 0.08. After spending some time in the hospital, Jensen is back on the job now.
After working an all night shift with the DUI Task Force, Jensen sat down with me on "Good Morning! Arizona" Friday to talk about his personal experience and drive home a message for the holiday weekend. He says the October crash was actually the third time he has been hit by a drunk driver, but the first time was seriously injured.
Sgt. Jensen's wife, DeAnna, also spoke about how their family has been impacted by drunk drivers. She is a retired Scottsdale DUI officer herself. While she is concerned, she says she will continue to support her husband and what he does on the job.
"I'm very proud, very proud," she said. "But I worry more than I used to. I don't want to get that call any more."
The couple's 10-year-old daughter talked to her father's DUI Task Force a couple of weeks ago. She thanked them for their work and shared how her family has been impacted by impaired drivers.
"I will never forget walking into that hospital and seeing my daddy laying on the bed with tubes and machines hooked up to him and the brace on his neck," she said. "Most importantly, I will never forget how frightened I was that he was going to die because another person made the decision to drink and drive that night.”
"When you see your own child out there speaking to an entire task force about it, it's pretty impactful," Jensen told 3TV after his daughter's speech. "There wasn't a dry eye in the house."
He hopes his family's story will compel New Year's revelers to be responsible. If not, he says he and his fellow officers have their own plan.
"We have the message that we're going to take the impaired drivers off the street," Jensen said. We are hoping people make the right decision and have a plan. But if they don't, we're there as a backup to get them off the street before they hurt or kill someone."