HPD Posting Photos Of Drunk Drivers

Rick Hamada
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Wednesday - November 25, 2009

Manuel Texeira, 51, was arrested for DUI on the Big Island. That’s not exactly a huge news story. There are reports of DUI arrests every day. But, Texeira was facing charges of a 10th DUI violation. Yes, 10. This time around, Circuit Court Judge Dexter Del Rosario didn’t fall for the old “I know I was wrong” routine. He sentenced Texeira to five years in prison.

But, come on. This man was allowed to prowl the roads nine previous times. And those are only occasions when he was caught - one might assume there were other times he drove while intoxicated and got away with it. It is astounding that a violator with such prodigious numbers would be allowed to waltz into a court of law and be sent on his merry way. Were the previous judges suffering from impaired judgment, too? Or investors in liquor companies?

I can only imagine the arresting officers in each of Texeira’s cases. The Big Island police did their job - over and over again. It was the in the courtroom where failure after failure took place. Thankfully, prosecutors and a clear-headed judge took this ticking time bomb off the roads. By the grace of God, no lives were lost at the hands of Manuel Texeira.

On Oahu, meanwhile, a new strategy in combating DUI is about to be deployed. The Honolulu Police Department will post on its Web site, www.honolulupd.com, DUI offenders who were arrested the previous week. According to HPD, the picture posting is intended to serve as another deterrent to potential drunk or drugged drivers. This program is not a panacea, but could make a drinker think twice before getting behind the wheel of a vehicle. Shame is the key of the program’s success. But in this day and age, who really cares if someone’s picture is posted on a fairly obscure Web site?

Relying on shame to compel an individual’s behavior may have been an effective tool a generation or two ago, but today shame is about as relevant as a VCR. What once was shameful is now a ticket to popularity and a payday.

In my day, there was an element of shame if a high school girl became pregnant. Right or wrong, an unwanted pregnancy brought disrepute to the girl and her family. Today, there are daycare centers in high schools so mothers can take their kids to school.

Paris Hilton, Kim Kardashian and now Carrie Prejean are known more for their sex tapes than their talents. Of course, the two may not be mutually exclusive.

I am all for the attempt by HPD to mitigate the number of drunk drivers on our roads. But don’t be surprised if some who are busted will ask for copies of their mug shots so they can post them on Facebook.

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