APD DWI Unit now patrolling 7 days a week

APD now has officers from its DWI unit on the roads every night of the week. They used to just patrol five days.

As the remaining Monday drivers made their way home--officers on APD's DWI unit clocked in and headed out for a long night of searching for drunk drivers.

This is new for the specialized officers as Sundays and Mondays used to be their days off.

On June 28th the department added another shift so all seven days would be covered. Corporal Mike Jennings says the result has been impressive.

"Just adding Sunday and Monday to our coverage which we did not have before, we've had 310 arrests," said Jennings.

The seven additional officers have brought the total number of the unit to 25. They work from 7:30 p.m. until 5:30 a.m.

"Patrol is always making DWI arrests as well as DWI officers so it's not like us not being out there DWI arrests aren't being made. That's not the case, but what it does add is that expertise that we need on the major cases and it alleviates patrol in a lot of cases," said Jennings.

Jennings says when patrol officers make DWI stops, they can call in one of the DWI officers and return to answering calls.

The unit has wanted to expand for some time. In 2012, officers conducted what they called "Summer Sundays" after seeing an increase in fatalities on the particular day of the week.

For 11 weeks, the department brought out the bat bus and DWI officers went to work.

"What we found is we had 92 DWI arrests just on Sundays alone. That's just adding one more day to what we were doing, but in addition to that, we also had zero fatalities," said Jennings.

Officers are hoping for the same result with the added covereage. Right now the fatality rate is more than all of last year.

"We saw this as an opportunity with the higher fatality rates hitting, what can we do? So as a department we look at that and we try and come up with solutions to what we're seeing. Again you can't prevent a lot of that from happening, but hopefully by having a third DWI team out there we're hoping that's something that will assist in bringing those numbers down," said Jennings.

In addition to DWI officers patrolling nightly, the department is currently under a no refusal program that will last until September 3rd. It starts every night at 9 and last until 5 a.m. That will be followed by a labor day no refusal initiative.
 

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