Raleigh police want to target DWI with task force
Posted September 13, 2013
Raleigh, N.C. — Raleigh police say they are ready to form the department’s own DWI task force and put the brakes on more drunken drivers in the city.
The department has applied for a $500,000 grant they hope will get the task force started before the end of the year.
“We already make about 1,500 DWI arrests a year in the City of Raleigh,” said Lt. Tim Tomczak.
He said a task force would target the problem because the officers would be “dedicated strictly to the detection and arrest of DWI drivers.”
Tomczak points to a DWI checkpoint earlier this year along Capital Boulevard, where officers averaged the arrest of an impaired driver every nine minutes.
The North Carolina Department of Transportation recently wrapped up its “Booze It and Lose it” campaign for the summer. Most of the arrests, more than 250, were in Wake County.
"It is a well-studied fact that people who are DWI cause crashes at a higher rate, and the crashes they cause are more serious,” Tomczak said.
Task force members would use crash statistics to determine where they need to focus their efforts. Tomczak says that does not mean officers will be parked outside downtown bars and restaurants.
"They will jurisdiction across the whole city, and they will be expected to work across the whole city,” he said.
Officers often deal with the tragedies that come with drunken driving, and Tomczak said informing family members left behind is the hardest part of the job.
He recalled one case in which a wife lost her husband in a crash.
"She was pregnant with twins,” he said. “Her husband will never come home again, and it is simply because he chose to drink and drive.”