Lion President and District Attorney Max Cook introduced guest speaker, Lieutenant Richard Losurdo, Oklahoma Highway Patrol at the recent Lions Club meeting.
Losurdo was presented with the Trilogy Award by the FBI Leadership Academy, holds an Oklahoma Law Enforcement Advanced Terrorism Certificate, obtained a Master of Arts degree in Homeland Security from American Military Acadamy, has a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from Southwestern College and studied Criminal Justice/Police Science at Central Texas College. He has also been an adjunct professor at Rose State College and Hilbert College. He joined the Oklahoma Highway Patrol in 1998.
“I was in the military, I was 19 years old, and I had a racing bike, and it was dark and this was back when OHP had Mustangs,” Lt. Losurdo said on how he became an OHP Trooper.
“I was on 240 and I’m like those Mustangs want to race! I dropped it down a couple of gears and took off. I was doing over a hundred miles an hour when I saw that red spotlight in the mirror and I thought, ‘I am going to jail.’ He pulled me over, and I would love to know who this trooper was to this day, but the way he treated me and the professionalism of the uniform, he just let me off with a warning and I said, “I want to do that.”
“As one of the younger guys I spent a lot of time on the night shift, so I got really good at impaired driving arrests. When I went to day shifts, I worked a lot of accidents. I have probably worked in excess of 5,000 crashes in my career. I went to accident reconstruction school…now that I am older, that is my focus—trying to cut down on bad crashes.”
Losurdo told the audience that commercial vehicles are one of the biggest problems on the Turner Turnpike
“These guys are killing themselves and killing people more than we need to. We have had three semi-truck rollovers since last Thursday just on the Turner Turnpike. These guys are not paying attention, they are getting tired…our agency requires troopers to stop 16 motor vehicles a month. I know you think that sounds like a quota we have got, but our commissioner wants us to focus on these CMVs (Commercial Motor Vehicles), to slow them down, stay in the right lane, and do everything safely…Not necessarily give them tickets but give them a warning and educational talk on the side of the road.”
Losurdo said that he wanted to talk to Lions members about safe driving. He asked how many people put their hands on the wheel in the 10 and 2 positions. Most of the audience raised their hands. Losurdo then told members that when an airbag deploys in a front-end collision, it does so at a speed of 210 to 250 miles per hour. “If your hands are up there like this you’re going to break your wrists or get hit in the face, I have seen it.” He then told members that it is safe to drive with both hands at the bottom of the steering wheel. He also cautioned against lowering the steering wheel, citing an instance when a wheel that came off a semi went through the windshield and the steering stopped it from hitting the driver.
Losurdo also warned of the dangers of being on the shoulder because of distracted drivers. “When I stop cars I take care of any business and get people off the shoulder as quickly as possible.”
He spoke about the hazards of driving on ice and the problems it presents. “I call Oklahoma the exhibition driver time during winter storms. Everybody’s gotta get out and try their luck at it and we are always out here mopping it up.”
When asked how many troopers there are in the state, Losurdo replied, “Not enough, about 650 and we should be at 1,100.”
Cook asked Losurdo if he had ever shot anyone, and Losurdo said no, but he once had to shoot a dog that was attacking him. “None of us want to take a life…but, I am going home every night. That’s my goal every time I put this uniform on. I am a target, even going to get gas.”
He concluded his talk by saying that he loved “coming to work every day.”