They know all the facts but they still haven’t learned the lessons.

Firefighters and police officers spend a great deal of their time responding to accidents caused by drunk drivers. They see the carnage - the blood, pain, death and destruction - that these crashes cause.

But when it is time to make personal decisions, some of these same public servants get behind the wheel and put people at risk that they are supposed to protect.

Twice in 60 days Chickasha police officers have jailed a public servant for DUI. Both times, the suspects were well over the legal limit. These were not men who had a couple of drinks and drove home.

But when you see how the situations are handled, you can understand why a person in their situation might think they could get away with it.

When a Chickasha police officer was arresting one of his fellow officers in March, an officer from another law enforcement agency was on the scene offering to drive the suspect home.

When the officers arrested a firefighter this week, Engine 2 was taken to the scene to allow an on-duty firefighter to take possession of the vehicle so it wouldn’t be impounded.

I don’t know how many suspects are allowed to call a friend to come get their vehicle during a DUI arrest. But I would like to believe this was the first time a fire truck was dispatched to the scene to collect the car.

I know the officers mean well that try to keep friends from being arrested or their cars from being impounded. But instead of shielding them from punishment, it is time for someone in each department to have the courage to begin trying to stop the problem.

You can be your brother’s keeper.

If something isn’t done soon, the next time a public servant is found driving under the influence it may be after a crash when he kills someone or himself.

Someone needs to take the first step and deal with this issue before you have to clean a co-worker’s blood off the highway or testify in his negligent homicide case.

Two arrests in 60 days is more than enough evidence that a problem exists. Police and firefighters work closely together. If a friend has the propensity to drink a little too much, he has friends on the force who know.

It is time to stop handling the situation with a wink and a nod and do something to help. If it means formal programs to encourage responsible behavior, those programs should be implemented.

It may mean implementing a system of off-duty officers who will serve as designated drivers if a friend finds himself in a condition where he shouldn’t drive.

Whatever the case, leadership is needed.

The stakes are too high to ignore the situation and hope it goes away. Poor judgment on every side of this issue is no longer excusable.

This is not the time to try to keep a buddy from being arrested, or driving fire trucks to arrest scenes. It is also not the time for retired officers to make excuses for bad behavior.

The time to correct the problem is now - before it is too late.

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