Alexandria Police Officer Carter Lentsch gets 'hat trick' award for 3 DWI arrests in 1 night
The arrests took place in the first six hours of his 12-hour shift.
ALEXANDRIA — Traffic enforcement is a favorite part of the job for Alexandria Police Officer Carter Lentsch.
He likes patrolling the streets of Alexandria and tries hard to make them as safe as they can be.
The 2013 Alexandria graduate, who has been with the Alexandria Police Department for nearly three years, was recently recognized for his efforts by Duane Siedschlag, impaired driving program coordinator with the Office of Traffic Safety and Becky Putzke, Northwest Law Enforcement liaison.
Lentsch had three DWI arrests – called a hat trick – in one 12-hour shift. Well, actually, in the first six hours of his 12-hour shift, he said.
The term "hat trick" is used in the sport of hockey to note the rare feat of scoring three goals in one game.
On June 4, while working the 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. shift, he removed three impaired drivers from the streets of Alexandria.
“It’s pretty unusual because it takes so long to process one,” said Alexandria Police Chief Scott Kent. “Two isn’t that hard, but three is and that is why Carter was recognized.”
Chief Kent continued, stating, “I am thrilled to have an officer like Carter on our staff. His commitment to public safety has been proven over and over again.”
On July 11, Lentsch was presented with a hockey puck and recognized by not only Siedschlag and Putzke, but also by Alexandria Mayor Bobbie Osterberg.
On the Alexandria Police Department’s Facebook post about the recognition, Osterberg commented, “Congratulations Carter Lentsch! You are a rock star. I was struck by what Becky said during the presentation – ‘We will never know how many lives you saved.’ ”
Lentsch said he didn’t do it for the recognition, but because it’s his job and part of his job that he enjoys.
He said it had already been kind of a busy weekend and based on the calls, the odds of getting three DWI arrests that shift was pretty high.
Lentsch noted, however, that he is not the only one in the area who has received the “hat trick” by arresting three impaired drivers in one night. In fact, he said Douglas County Deputy Corey Sammons just got his second hat trick last week. He said Sammons was also awarded a hockey puck for his first hat trick and will soon be getting his second award, a hockey stick.
Making a stop
In general, when Lentsch decides to pull someone over who he thinks might be impaired, it is because of the observations he makes. These might include driving too fast, driving too slow, crossing the centerline, crossing the fog line or maybe blowing through a stop sign.
After pulling the person over, he might observe bloodshot eyes, hear slurred or slowed speech or smell alcohol on the person’s breath. He also noted that intoxicated people have a tendency to hand him credit cards instead of their driver’s license.
If he believes someone is under the influence of alcohol, he will put that person through a series of tests, as well as have them do a preliminary breathalyzer test. If the person fails, they go to jail, where they are allowed to contact an attorney if they wish.
People who are brought to jail for driving while intoxicated must also do one more breathalyzer test, which is called an evidentiary breath test, meaning it can be used in court if need be.
Once a person is booked into the jail, Lentsch is cleared from the call.
The only thing left for him to do is paperwork, which can also be time consuming.
From the time he pulls someone over until he is cleared from the jail can take up to a couple of hours, which is why having three DWI arrests in one night is challenging, he said.
Lentsch said for those who have their first DWI, they can lose their driver’s license for 90 days. And depending on the level of alcohol in the person’s system at the time of arrest, the person’s car can also be forfeited. There are also fines to pay and sometimes lawyer’s fees, too.
Lentsch offered up some advice that may keep people from having to deal with a DWI and anything else that comes along with it — “If you question whether or not you can drive, just don’t even try.”