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Saturday, December 3, 2016

New Fairfax County police unit cracks down on drunk driving

2nd Lt. D.V. Ferreira (right) the leader of the FCPD's new DWI squad, briefs his officers at the Operations Support Bureau. 
The Fairfax County Police Department has a new tool to combat drunk driving. The department launched a squad to focus on alcohol and drug-impaired drivers with the goal of increasing the number of driving-while-intoxicated arrests and prosecutions.

The new squad was introduced to reporters Dec. 1 at the FCPD Operations Support Bureau in Annandale. It consists of a supervisor and eight patrol officers who have demonstrated a strong commitment to DWI enforcement. The officers had an average of 241 DWI arrests a year.

DWI enforcement squad cars don't have flashing lights on top. 
The squad will work 7 p.m.-5 a.m. in four-day rotations throughout the county. During their first night on the squad, they focused on three DWI hot spots in the Mason and West Springfield police districts:
  • Beauregard Street at Little River Turnpike – There were 24 DWI arrests and six crashes within 500 feet of that intersection since Jan. 1, 2016.
  • Leesburg Pike at Glen Carlyn Drive – 15 DWI arrests and four crashes.
  • Arlington Boulevard at Patrick Henry Drive – 38 DWI arrests and four crashes.  
There has actually been a decrease in DWI-related crashes involving alcohol in recent years in Fairfax County, said Capt. Bob Blakley, commander of the Traffic Division. In 2015, there were 523 alcohol-related DWI crashes countywide, a decrease from 600 in 2013. “This year we hope to see those numbers continue to decrease,” he said.

Meanwhile, he said, there has been an uptick in DWI incidents involving drivers intoxicated on drugs, which he attributes to the rise in opioid abuse nationwide.

Members of the DWI squad include (from the left): officers N. Pyzowski, S.A. Khan, and G. Roberts.
Crashes claim the lives of more than 20 people a year in Fairfax County, many of them alcohol-related, he said. Stepping up DWI enforcement is the number-one way to prevent traffic deaths.

When police stop a driver thought to be intoxicated, they could administer a preliminary breathalyzer test; a “horizontal gaze nystagmus” sobriety test, which involves observing the driver’s eye to see if the pupil follows a moving object smoothly; and a “nine-step walking test,” involving counting steps while walking heel to tow and turning around.

Drivers who are arrested are brought to a county magistrate, given an official breathalyzer test, and held in the Adult Detention Center until they sober up. A DWI conviction could mean 60 days in jail plus $5,000 in fees and fines.

2 comments:

  1. Carlin Spring at Little River...?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Well this is one way to get rid of the illegals. Is FCPD sending them to Trump Tower Interment camp until they get shipped out?

    ReplyDelete