A veteran Port Authority police officer who’s made a career of taking drunk drivers off the road was again honored as a “Top Cop” for making nearly three dozen DUI arrests at the George Washington Bridge last year.
Officer Edwin Berdecia – who made 40% of the department’s 63 DUI arrests at the GWB last year -- was among six “Distinguished Service” award recipients from the Port Authority police department at an event held on the Rutgers University main campus in New Brunswick.
It kept a string intact for Berdecia: MADD has honored him each of the past 13 years, during which he made nearly 900 DUI arrests.
“Every time I remove an impaired driver from the road, I feel like I am saving a life -- either their own or someone else’s,” the veteran officer said.
The other PAPD “Distinguished Service” recipients:
- Officer Emmanuel Luongo, who made 8 DUI arrests at the Lincoln Tunnel;
- Officer Rhett Peppi for 7 DUI arrest at the Holland Tunnel;
- Officer Paul Pimenta for 7 DUI arrests at the Lincoln Tunnel;
- Officer Richard Pawlicki for 6 DUI arrests at the Lincoln Tunnel;
- Officer Roberto Reyes for 4 DUI arrests at the Lincoln Tunnel.
In addition to the 63 total DUI arrests at the George Washington Bridge, Port Authority police made 34 at the Lincoln Tunnel and 27 at the Holland Tunnel, according to spokeswoman Lenis Rodrigues.
“The Port Authority Police officers take their work very seriously by remaining vigilant at these crossings,” said Maria Esteves, a volunteer with MADD who coordinates the annual statewide Law Enforcement Award program. “They are protecting the community by stopping impaired drivers, preventing crashes and saving lives.”
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.