MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) - After seven years patrolling west metro highways, when it comes to tracking down drivers under the influence, Minnesota State Patrol Trooper Allen Thill has more than a few tricks up his sleeve.
“I look for speed, I look for people that swerve, fail to signal,” said Thill. “I just like getting the impaired drivers off the road.”
In fact, he enjoys the job so much, Trooper Thill proved last year his specialty is a little something called "the hat trick."
“[The] hat trick is arresting three drunk drivers on one shift,” he said.
“He’s very proactive in finding impaired drivers,” said. Lt. Tiffani Nielson of Minnesota State Patrol.
Completing the hat trick is an unusual feat, but Trooper Thill is no one timer. He's gone the extra mile and arrested three drunk drivers during one shift multiple times - in July, September and October. That's three times in a year and nine fewer criminals on the road - for a triple hat trick.
On an average month, the Office of Traffic Safety grants six to eight hat trick awards to officers, troopers, and deputies - not only in the metro, but across the state.
“So it just illustrates impaired driving is still a big issue, but we have some incredibly dedicated people out there who are making a huge different and saving lives when they go to work,” said Mike Hanson of the Office of Traffic Safety.
For each hat trick, Trooper Thill is recognized in true Minnesota fashion with an honorary hockey stick as an award. While it's clear he's a star player, he considers himself more of a playmaker on a mission to protect everyone on the roads.
“Recognition is great, it makes you want to go out and do your job more, but to be honest if I never got the hat trick award, it wouldn’t change the way I work,” said Trooper Thill. “I would still go out and get my three, maybe four, next time.”
Trooper Thill has a message for anyone who decides to drive impaired: "You'll get caught, maybe not tonight, but you will." He encourages all to make sure they have a safe ride home.