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Three area officers earn statewide recognition for DUI arrests in 2017

WORTHINGTON -- Three Worthington-area law enforcement officers ranked high among their peers in removing intoxicated motorists from regional roadways in 2017.

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Riley

WORTHINGTON - Three Worthington-area law enforcement officers ranked high among their peers in removing intoxicated motorists from regional roadways in 2017.  

Worthington police officers Mark Riley and Jacob Refsland and Nobles County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Michael Schei ranked well in a pool of 4,391 Minnesota officers who made DWI arrests in 2017. Combined, the trio removed more than 80 intoxicated drivers from the surrounding area in 2017. Individually, Refsland made 27 DWI arrests and ranked 55th; Riley made 22 DWI arrests, ranking 64th; and Schei made 33, ranking 58th.

WPD Capt. Kevin Flynn commended the work Refsland and Riley are accomplishing for the department and community.

“They are guys that never sit still and are very proactive in the community, and Worthington should be very proud of the job that those guys do,” Flynn said. “They’re excellent officers.”

Nobles County Sheriff Kent Wilkening also commended Schei and his K-9 partner, Boriz, who received other recent recognition for a 20-pound methamphetamine bust along Interstate 90.

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“I think Deputy Schei and Boriz are doing a fine job for the county,” Wilkening said.

Refsland said all law enforcement officers make a concerted effort to continuously be on the lookout for possible impaired drivers. However, there are some factors that would naturally make the trio’s potential for a DWI arrest greater.

Riley pointed out that there are typically more calls requesting service during the daytime than at night. He, as well as Refsland and Schei, are night-shifters.  

“At night there’s more time to be proactive,” Riley said of the reason he prefers being on the night shift.

This is the first year that Riley, a seven-year veteran, and Refsland, with two years on the force, recall being ranked among the state’s top enforcers. There can be a possible discrepancy between the number of actual arrests reported at the department and the number calculated in the state’s ranking formula. The amount of arrests an officer in Minnesota is able to make also greatly depends on the amount of traffic, population and jurisdiction.

Schei has ranked among top enforcers a handful of times, and has attended multiple DWI All Star Awards Ceremonies, which occur at Minnesota Twins games. Officers across the state who have made DWI arrests are eligible for the annual consideration by the Minnesota Department of Traffic Safety, and invitations are usually extended to the highest enforcers based on their jurisdiction’s population.

Riley said he believes the amount of impaired drivers have greatly decreased in the seven years he has been on the department. He and Refsland attribute that to a variety of likely factors, including continuous enforcement, awareness and education.

Despite a decline in impaired driving, the duo remain active all throughout the night and do not quit until the job is done, Flynn said. In fact, he added, there are many mornings they’re still plugging away after the sun rises.

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“I come in at 6:30 or 7 (a.m.) and these guys are still sitting there typing reports because they’ve ,been out busting their hump and there’s bad guys in jail because of them or the burglary string comes to an end because of those guys,” Flynn explained.

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