The only people not toasting police officer Larry Santiago this week are the drunk drivers that he busts.
Santiago, a two-and-a-half-year NYPD vet, was handed the 84th Precinct’s “Cop of the Year” award on Tuesday night, a tribute to his 24 drunk-driving arrests in 2008.
That’s nearly one-third of the precinct’s DWI collars, said his commanding officer, Capt. Mark DiPaolo.
The number is even more impressive, DiPaolo said, because Santiago was often called upon to administer drunk-driving tests against some drivers’ will.
“It’s a great expertise to recognize the behavior of a drunk driver,” DiPaolo said. “This officer has exemplified the difficulty of recognizing these signs and seeing to the arrest.”
Santiago works overnight on the precinct’s meanest streets: Tillary Street and Flatbush Avenue, veritable speedways for Manhattan-exiting boozers, DiPaolo said.
How good is Santiago? None other than NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly was on hand to congratulate the officer in the Borough Hall ceremony.
“You’ve saved lives,” the top cop said.