WARREN COUNTY – Traffic safety on the eve of this Labor Day weekend was the subject of a sometimes amusing, sometimes tragic, talk by a Frederick County sheriff’s deputy, Lt. Warren W. Gosnell, a former Front Royal radio personality who chose law enforcement as his eventual career.
Gosnell on Friday was one of the rare speakers at the Rotary Club of Front Royal luncheon permitted to run more than twice his allocated time and every one of the 52 members and guests present appeared glued to their chair. His announced passion for traffic safety, both professional and personal, was emphasized in his 40-minute presentation.
The 20-year veteran with the Frederick County sheriff’s office (the sheriff attended his talk) appeared in his “work clothes”, which included the 35 pounds of equipment he wore, mostly on his chest, during duty hours. He gave a traffic officer’s view of the differing reactions of those subjected to traffic stops (“You can’t talk your way out of a ticket but you can talk yourself into one!”), and a personal observation when, as an 11-year-old, he’d been scared by an alcoholic father (now 30 years dry) who drove him around drunk.
Gosnell said he and his family had been subjected to seven tragic or near tragic incidents involving drunk drivers, including two uncles killed. He said he’d made 500 DUI arrests in his two decades in law enforcement.
He urged those in his audience this holiday weekend to “know your limitations.” “I’m not saying not to enjoy a drink (or two),” he said, but you first need to know your tolerance for alcohol. “If you can’t tolerate even one drink, then don’t drive.”
He named the new Uber driver service as an option to getting behind the wheel, or naming a “designated driver”.
In Warren County police have already warned that they will be on the lookout for drunk drivers over the last holiday of the summer..
For those who are stopped, Gosnell advised drivers to always be polite, to take a deep breath, pull off the road to the right, keep their hands visible, and don’t even think of reaching down for a drivers license or other credentials that may ultimately be requested. He described, sometimes in amusing fashion, the reactions of people he has stopped. Some become offensive, not helping their own cause.
“Yes,” he told his audience, “there are some bad cops out there…but there are 99 per cent of us who act properly and professionally and within the law.”