ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Sometimes, it’s a moment or a call that can change the course of a police officer’s career.

Loves Park Police Officer Brady Bailey says a tragedy he experienced on the job inspired him to take action against drunk driving.

Brady has only been with the Loves Park Police Department for a year and a half, but he’s responded to over 1,600 calls.

He says one call in particular has stuck with him.

“Over the summer, I dealt with a fatal accident of a kid on Riverside,” Bailey recalled. “After that [accident], nobody stayed [at the scene]. It was a hit and run, and nobody stayed behind after he was hit. And after that, I felt like I needed to do something. A majority of my DUI [arrests] came after that.”

Bailey says he has made over 20 DUI arrests since the September incident.

“It’s hard to cope with the fact that somebody lost their life at such a young age, and they had a lot of life left to live,” he said. “Every time you drive by [scene of the accident], you think about him.”

Bailey says his focus now is making sure no more lives are lost to drunk driving.

“I’ve gotten a lot of DUI’s where people are close to three times the legal limit, and [arresting them] is definitely rewarding, because you don’t know if that person drove a few more miles what the consequences would be.”

Bailey was awarded Officer of the Year. At only 26, he says he hopes to become sergeant one day.

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