Q&A with Warren Stanley
Commissioner, California Highway Safety Patrol, and winner of the 2020 AAMVA Lifetime Achievement in Highway Safety—Law Enforcement
How and why did you get into law enforcement?
As a child, I always wanted to be a law enforcement officer. I had a close family friend who was a California Highway Patrol (CHP) officer, and even way back then, I understood and was impressed by the CHP’s professionalism, what they did and how they did it.
Traffic safety is so important. We have an opportunity to educate the public about driving safely and the dangers of impaired and distracted driving, and those things translate into savings lives. That’s why I got into law enforcement—I wanted to save lives.
What has your career journey been like?
I’ve had the honor of serving in every uniform position in the CHP. I started working the road as an officer, and then over the years got promoted to sergeant, lieutenant, captain, assistant chief, and chief before working in a few different roles in the Commissioner’s Office. I’ve been the Commissioner of the CHP since 2018.
What traffic safety initiatives have you worked on?
I’m very proud of what we’ve done with the Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) program at the CHP. With the number of people using drugs and narcotics, this program is very important to help identify people who are driving impaired and remove them from the road. A few years ago, we made sure all CHP officers and sergeants went through the Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE) training course, which provided additional information related to drug impairment beyond the instruction they received at the CHP Academy.
How does it feel to be honored with the AAMVA Lifetime Achievement Award?
I was very happy and quite surprised. My staff nominated me for it and didn’t tell me, so I didn’t even know about it until I had won the award. Although this is a big honor, for me, it’s not about the awards. It’s about what I can do for other people, what I can do to make the department better and how we can improve traffic safety for everyone.
What are some of your favorite hobbies or pasttimes?
I’m a big football fan. My favorite college team is the University of Southern California Trojans, and my favorite professional team is the [now Las Vegas] Raiders. I also really love jazz music.