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Port Authority officer with eye for DWI helps keep roads safe

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot File Photo

SHOUT OUT: One driver who had nothing more than a damaged taillight and another who’d just mowed down everything in his path while driving on two flat tires on the sidewalk were among the department-record 90 DWI arrests last year for Port Authority Police Officer Edwin Berdecia, who was honored yesterday for his work.

“His skill set in this particular area has been honed over the years,” Port Authority Chief Security Officer Joseph Dunne said. “He’s out there looking and hunting for bad guys and he has done a great job.”

Berdecia, a 12-year-old department veteran assigned to the GWB command post, continues to study up — including taking courses out of his own pocket — on how to spot drunken drivers, said the authority’s Joseph Pentangelo.

After nailing 55 impaired drivers in 2012, Berdecia set a all-time high standard last year — in only 11 months.

“Every time I make a DWI arrest, I feel I may have saved a life,” he said.

Most times, Berdecia spots a violation, or something out of the ordinary and finds a driver high or drunk.

Other times it’s more obvious:

Two months ago, Berdecia rushed to grab a driver who pulled into a GWB toll plaza with two flat tires and front-end damage before dawn after driving his car onto a Lemoine Avenue sidewalk in Fort Lee.

The driver “crashed into and knocking down a light pole, a street sign and pole, a flood light, several bushes and destroyed a parking meter,” Pentangelo said. He then tried to flee across the bridge before Berdecia moved in, he said.

Berdecia, who has been honored by Mothers Against Drunk Driving, was congratulated yesterday by Port Authority Police Superintendent Michael Fedorko ( photo ) and Chief Louie Koumoutsos for his outstanding work and achievements at Port Authority Police Headquarters.

His total for 2012 “is out of the ordinary and deserving of commendation,” Pentangelo said. “This officer is doing an outstanding job.”

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