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Oro Valley Police Department Officer Ryan Goss, center, was recognized by Mothers Against Drunk Driving as the department’s Southern Arizona Law Enforcement Officer of the Year.

Ryan Goss knew he wanted to be a police officer since he was a student at Mountain View High School, where he had a positive relationship with the school resource officer. And though he’s still finishing up his college degree, Goss is realizing his life dream as a member of the Oro Valley Police Department.

For his hard work, Goss was recently recognized by Mothers Against Drunk Driving as the department’s Law Enforcement Officer of the Year.

“I was pretty excited,” he said. “It’s something that I work towards—not necessarily an award—but I work hard in doing what I do, and it’s something I take a lot of pride in.”

Goss has worked for OVPD for the past two years, and was previously a member of the Pima County Sheriff’s Department for three years. 

When the chance to join the department’s DUI enforcement group, Goss said he jumped at the opportunity. Though he was previously passed over for the assignment as a deputy for a candidate with more experience, Goss knew the time was right.

While some officers may not enjoy DUI investigations, or may be intimidated by the work, Goss said, he thrives under the pressure. From the roadside to the courtroom, Goss said he’s comfortable with every part of the work, and considers the work to be “one of the more difficult and prestigious” jobs he’s handled as an officer.

He also enjoys the freedom to patrol on the midnight shift.

“There’s a lot of freedom in the job, especially working midnights and not taking a lot of calls,” Goss said. “I have the freedom to go out and look for my own traffic violations or do a lot of periodic checks on businesses and apartment complexes.”

Since he started DUI work, Goss said he’s only become more interested in keeping Or Valley’s streets safe from intoxicated drivers, and considers driving under the influence a grave mistake because of the loss of judgment, coordination and a variety of other risks that come with the behavior.

“It’s very silly to do something like drinking, smoking marijuana or taking prescription pills greater than your dosage and going out and getting behind the wheel of a vehicle,” he said. “You don’t realize what it does to you. I’ve had multiple people that I arrest and they’re like ‘I felt fine,’ and I say, ‘Well, you did absolutely terrible.’”

In addition to his DUI work, Goss is trained and certified to operate the departments various radar equipment, perform roadside sobriety tests and is a training-qualified phlebotomist. He also completed his advanced roadside impaired driving enforcement training, and plans to take the drug recognition program hosted by the Marana Police Department in the future.

According to Oro Valley Police Chief Daniel Sharp, traffic and roadway safety have been a top priority of his throughout his 41-year law enforcement career, and is proud of Goss for his hard work.

“Drug and alcohol impaired crashes needlessly kill more than 10,000 people each year,” Sharp said. “I am extremely proud of Officer Goss and his efforts in removing drug and alcohol impaired drivers from our community before they harm someone and truly appreciate the wonderful partnership we share with MADD.”

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