Peace Officers Fellowship


As of 2023, the CDC reported that 37 people in the United States die in alcohol-impaired car crashes each day, amounting to one death every 39 minutes. Additionally, numerous non-fatal alcohol-related accidents result in significant damage, leading to emotional trauma, financial burdens and long-term physical and psychological injuries. The legal consequences of drinking and driving can be severe, with hefty fines, license suspension or revocation, and possible imprisonment. The overall impact on one’s personal and professional lives can be devastating.

Despite these consequences, people continue to take chances and engage in this risky behavior. Attitudes and norms regarding alcohol consumption and driving contribute to this, as there continues to be widespread cultural acceptance of this behavior despite awareness campaigns and strict DUI laws. This normalization can cause individuals, including those within LASD, to underestimate the dangers and consequences associated with drinking and driving.

Within law enforcement culture specifically, unique pressures and influences may contribute to drinking and driving. The demanding nature of the job, exposure to trauma and irregular work schedules can lead to alcohol consumption as a coping mechanism or a way to unwind. Moreover, camaraderie and social dynamics within law enforcement circles may normalize and even encourage drinking, including excessive drinking, in certain contexts. The inherent authority and autonomy associated with law enforcement can also lead people to believe they are above the law or immune to its consequences. This sense of invincibility, combined with a perceived obligation to maintain a tough and resilient image, may deter some of us from acknowledging our own vulnerability to the dangers of drinking and driving.

One such vulnerability is the influence of alcohol itself on cognitive functions, including judgment and decision-making, which can impair one’s ability to assess risk accurately. In the midst of intoxication, individuals may believe they are still capable of driving safely despite evidence to the contrary. This distorted perception, combined with a sense of invincibility or overconfidence, can override rational thinking and lead to tragic consequences on the road. I wonder, have you ever thought any of the following after a night out with friends?

• “I’m fine, I can handle it.”
• “It’s just a short drive home.”
• “I’ve done it before, no big deal.”
• “I don’t want to call a cab/Uber/Lyft, it’s too expensive.”
• “I need to get home quickly, I have work tomorrow.”
• “I’ll just chance it, the odds of getting caught are low.”

By actively countering poor decision-making and judgment when drinking, individuals can protect themselves and others from harm, reduce the likelihood of accidents and injuries, and uphold their responsibility to prioritize safety above all else. This proactive approach involves planning ahead, making alternative transportation arrangements and recognizing the limitations of one’s cognitive abilities under the influence of alcohol.

In our ongoing commitment to fostering a culture of responsibility, safety and well-being, we encourage each and every employee to reach out should you need support, guidance or simply someone to talk to. Whether it’s through Police Officer’s Fellowship (see numbers above), confidential counseling services at Psychological Services Bureau, peer support or external resources you can learn about by reaching out to the Substance Abuse Resource Program coordinator, we are here to help. You can call the office at (312) 738-3500.