Thursday, April 2, 2015

Citizen's Police Academy

Last night, I had the unique opportunity to get drunk on the taxpayer's dime. One of the things that the Onalaska Police Department does is offer a Citizens Police Academy for anyone that lives or works in the city, and they get to learn some of the ins and outs of the business. It's pretty neat. But this week in the academy, they were learning about drunk driving, OWI, DUI and the things that police officers look for when it comes to enforcing those laws. Of course, to be able to best teach this topic, they needed test subjects.

That's where I come into play.

I got connected with the Onalaska PD to come in and basically, get drunk. I told them I like a good 7&7, so when I showed up, I was seated with the other "participants", I poured myself a mixer and starting to drink.

It was kind of odd, drinking with cops and strangers in the room, but I quickly made friends, we watched some Wheel of Fortune, and kept drinking. Of course, alcohol is a great social lubricant, so that certainly helped.

They would periodically check our BAC along the way (basically after every mixed drink), and I saw my number gradually climb. .04 after two drinks, up to .074 after three drinks and I hit the magical .08 mark after four (relatively strong) mixed drinks.

My initial reaction? Holy crap, I'm hammered. I'd never ever think about getting behind the wheel of a car at that level of intoxication, but to learn that I was only a .08 was astonishing. After two drinks, I was already thinking to myself "whoa, driving might be tricky now" but to drive home after four drinks would be stupid.

We went through field sobriety tests, which I did not pass, surprisingly. They did the finger test where you follow it with your eyes, the walk-in-a-straight-line trick, plus the ol' stand-on-one-foot game. I failed all three. I asked the officer overseeing this part of the night at which point he would have failed me and he said "As soon as I put up my finger." So yeah, pretty drunk.

I got a ride home and almost immediately went to bed. Pounded some Powerade this morning, finally ate some lunch early this afternoon, and starting to finally feel a bit better later on this afternoon. It was for a good cause, but I kept telling my coworkers this morning that it was an "excused hangover."

Anyways, it was a cool experience. I feel like I learned a great deal of my tolerance levels and what a .08 actually feels like, and I think the more people that want to spend time actually learning our laws and get a better appreciation of what our police departments do is a huge plus as well. Kudos to the Onalaska PD on a great program (and thank you taxpayers for the drinks!)

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