Costa Mesa officer lauded for DUI arrest efforts

A Costa Mesa police officer was recognized Wednesday for his efforts with DUI arrests.

Officer Kha Bao arrested a record-breaking 432 people for DUIs in 2011.

Chris Murphy, director of the California Office of Traffic Safety, said Bao has made the most DUI arrests in Orange County and is probably among the top ranks for California overall.

Bao, who has been a part of the Police Department since 2000 and an officer since 2005, said this achievement was a “direct reflection of the department.”

“I’m surprised and feel very fortunate,” he said. “But the credit goes to my partners. I couldn’t have done this without their support. This really speaks volumes and is a direct reflection of how our department cares about the community.”

Police Chief Tom Gazsi said the department has taken a strong stance against DUIs since 1986.

Four other Costa Mesa officers were also recognized for their DUI arrest efforts. According to Gazsi, Crystal Rodriguez, Jose Torres, Oscar Reyes and Jared Shurley each had more than 100 DUI arrests last year.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving earlier this year gave them a Century Award for their efforts.

“If you live in this city, it’s a beautiful thing,” Murphy said. “The streets are safer. Maybe someone who was drunk was arrested and they could have been killed. It just shows the dedication of the officers in this department.”

— Brittany Woolsey

Twitter: @TheDailyPilot