By Scott Prater
Staff Sgt. Jordan Dale spends his weekends like a good number of other young people in Colorado Springs — he drives around town.
Only for him, the activity doesn’t revolve around finding a party or hooking up with friends.
For the past year he’s volunteered with the No DUI Colorado Springs program, and because of his efforts, many people who might have had one too many alcoholic beverages never got behind the wheel, but made it home safe and secure.
He’s volunteered so much that the Pikes Peak Region DUI Task Force honored him with an Official Commendation during a ceremony Sept. 1 in Manitou Springs.
“It’s no surprise that one of the biggest reasons people drive drunk is that they don’t want to leave their car somewhere,” he said. “So I figured this would be a great way to help people out and do my part for our community.”
Since last July, Sergeant Dale, 50th Operations Support Squadron, has logged more than 450 hours with No DUI Colorado Springs, also known as Designated Driver of Colorado Springs.
Most weekend nights, he takes in a movie and dinner with his wife, drops her off at home and heads to his volunteer job, the local police station, where he waits for his first call.
“Sometimes we’ll hang out at one of No DUI Colorado Spring’s sponsor establishments, drink sodas, and socialize,” he said. “Our first calls usually come in between 10 and midnight.”
Here’s how it works. People who know about the program simply call the No DUI dispatch line, relay their location and wait for a volunteer to show up.
Sergeant Dale is one of some 50 volunteer drivers who respond, many times past 2:30 a.m.
“We’ll meet the caller, assess the situation, find out where they live, then jump into their car and drive them home,” he said. “We work in teams, so a partner will follow us in his or her own car and transport us either back to the station or to the next pick up.”
He figures the work is relatively safe and that most people he helps are more than appreciative of his efforts, especially since the service is free to the caller.
“They get home safe, without risking a DUI or possibly injuring themselves and others drivers, plus their car is sitting in the driveway when they wake up in the morning,” said Nonie Rispin, No DUI’s founder and director. “Sergeant Dale has earned this honor because he goes above and beyond. He’s one of the most reliable drivers we have. I don’t even have to call him to confirm if he’ll be working a scheduled shift.”
The organization that presented the award, the Pikes Peak Region DUI Task Force, is made up of local law enforcement agencies, including the Colorado State Patrol, the Colorado Springs Police Department, Fort Carson Police Department and the Teller County Sheriff.
Ms. Rispin started No DUI Colorado Springs in January of 2009 after recognizing the need for such a program here.
“Colorado Springs had twice the national average of alcohol and drug related deaths at the time,” said Ms. Rispin, whose cousin was killed by a drunk driver several years ago.
She also said that two-thirds of No DUI Colorado Springs’ patrons are military members from the five surrounding military installations.
“That’s not a bad thing, though,” said Sergeant Dale. “Ms. Rispin and No DUI have marketed heavily to local military installations, so I think many more military members are aware of the program than the general population.”
The No DUI program will also pick up military members from anywhere in the coverage area, whereas they only pick up civilians from sponsored locations.
Military members need to inform No DUI Colorado Springs dispatchers that they are in the military when they call. Sergeant Dale and Ms. Rispin urge any military member who feels they may have had too much to drink to call the No DUI dispatch line at 650-3450 or visit NoDuiCoSprings.com for more information on coverage areas.
“One of the things that makes us unique is our rides are free,” Ms. Rispin said. “And again, we’ll pick up military members from anywhere, including residences, in our coverage area.”
Anyone looking to volunteer and any business owners looking to help sponsor the program are asked to call the dispatch line or visit the website.