In Depth: Top-notch trooper - KMSP-TV

In Depth: Top-notch trooper

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Ask Minnesota State Trooper Gordan Shank what's so special about him and he'll say he's just a country boy from Ohio. He is as modest as he is hard-working, but his fellow officers call him a drunk magnet.

In the last 7 months, Shanke has made 78 DUI arrests, which is a lot for one trooper. His hard work earned him MADD's Rookie of the Year award.

Another rookie nominated him for the award.

"Every day he comes to work, has a tremendous work ethic," said Trooper Michael Lee. "He is doing more than just the job. He is going above the call of duty."

Despite his accomplishments and accolades, no one plays them down more than Shank himself.

"I just call it luck," said Shank. "One of my partners made 242 arrests."

But it's been said that a person makes his own luck -- which comes from a combination of constant vigilance while on patrol in the west metro in Shank's case.

What starts with someone who is not signaling, weaving in and out of traffic, cutting people off, or speeding, Shank has a "no exceptions" attitude when it comes to picking up drunks on the highway.

FOX 9 drove along with Shank for three nights and witnessed an interesting combination of an all-business approach and compassion.

In one instance, Shank retrieved a woman's coat from the car as he gave her a field sobriety test. The portable breath test showed she was more than twice the legal limit. Shank arrested her and took her to jail -- but not before explaining what will happen to her husband over a cell pone and giving her time to collect her thoughts before walking her into the Hennepin County Jail.

It may be things like this that keep Shank from being the most hated man on the highway despite all the arrests he has made.

That woman told FOX 9 that she was nervous during the process, but said Shank made her feel better and was kind and courteous. She even called him a "cutie pootie".

Shank laughed after hearing the comment, saying, "I always treat them the way I would want to be treated."

However, Shank almost did not get the metro job. He was number 56 in line, and there were only 40 being hired. That means he was considered an alternate -- but as people fell off the list, Shank steadily moved up to number 40 and secured a spot in the Jackson/Windom district. He would have taken that position, but he kept moving up on the list until he landed in the Twin Cities.

Shank's co-workers say his hard working attitude is infectious.

"He makes me want to work harder," said Lee. "Just as hard as him."

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