12-17-09 Increased Holiday DUI Patrols
Boise, Dec. 17, 2009 - Boise Police will join other law enforcement agencies nationwide in a holiday DUI crackdown. The Boise Police Department will use grant funds provided by the Idaho Transportation Department’s Office of Highway Safety to help pay for officer overtime for the additional DUI patrols during that period.
All major law enforcement agencies in Ada and Canyon County came together at a well attened news briefing today to stand united against drunk and impaired driving. Members of the Treasure Valley DUI Task Force were featured, as were volunteers from Mothers Against Drunk Driving, in announcing a holiday crackdown on drunk driving all over the Treasure Valley, from Caldwell to Boise and all roads in between.
The new Treasure Valley DUI Task Force was formed this past fall with a mutual aid – joint powers agreement between four major Treasure valley police agencies; Boise Police, Nampa Police, Caldwell Police, and Idaho State Police. The agreement allows officers with the task force to join forces and concentrate DUI enforcement in all member cities or area of jurisdiction, regardless of which badge an officer wears.
All the DUI Task Force member cities, Boise, Nampa, and Caldwell all have large entertainment venues that can attract large crowds where alcohol is served. The Task Force allows officers from those cities to team up, along with Idaho State Police, to form extra DUI patrols for major events, keeping participants and motorists safer.
“We believe if any message has the potential to change a driver’s behavior, it’s ‘you drink, you drive, you lose’,” said Boise Chief of Police Michael Masterson.
“If you drive drunk you’ll lose you’re driving privileges, you’ll lose a lot of money in legal and insurance fees, you may lose your freedom, and sadly, you may lose your life or take someone else’s. That’s why police have a zero tolerance for DUI’s” said Chief Masterson.
“Alcohol clouds a person’s judgment. We’re urging citizens this holiday, and always, to make the decision not to drink and drive while you’re still sober,” said Caldwell Chief of Police Chris Allgood. “Plan for a designated driver, plan to take a taxi, or plan to stay where you are until you sober up. That’s a word to the wise.”
“Citizens in Nampa, and all over the valley are alert to potentially impaired drivers. We very much appreciate their assistance by calling in potential DUI’s” said Nampa Deputy Chief Craig Kingsbury.
“We appreciate partnering with MADD and the entire community to have citizens spread the word that drinking and driving is not okay.” Says Deputy Chief Kingsbury.
At today's news briefing, Anita Lew also spoke, Mrs. Lew is the mother of Daniel Lew, killed by a drunk driver on Interstate 84 in Nampa when he was 23 years old in 2004.
"These are my heroes," said Mrs. Lew, motioning to the officers standing behind her.
"There are so many things in life we have no control over. Whether to drink and drive is something we have complete control over," said Mrs. Lew. "Save yourself, save some unknown victim, save a friend. Please plan ahead, and plan not to drink and drive before you ever start drinking."
The Lew's also brought to the news event today , the car their son was killed in. Since Daniel's death, both gary and Anita Lew have spent thousands of hours as MADD volunteers, towing and displaying the smashed vehicle, hoping their efforts will stop, even one person from drinking and driving.
The following statistics were released during today's news briefing:
HOLIDAY DUI PATROLS: Friday, Dec. 18 through New Year’s Day.
FREE BREATHALYZER TESTING: BPD partnering with MADD:
Saturday night, Dec. 19th, 11:00 p.m. – 3:00 a.m., 6th Street just south of Main, Boise Police Mobile Substation.
DUI ARREST STATISTICS from BOISE PD:
Total BPD DUI Arrests Jan – Nov. 09: 1,532…….DUI Arrests Jan – Nov. 08: 1,942.
DUI Arrests by BPD Officer (Night STEP Team officers) – Year to date:
Ofr. Mike Ruffalo - 234
Ofr. Casey Hancuff - 199
Ofr. Larry Moore - 190
Ofr. Jason Rose - 120
Ofr. Darren Mitchell - 109
Sgt. Lori Sperry - 103
Boise City DUI Arrests by Demographics:
Male arrests 68 %
Females 32 %
Under age 21 20'S 30'S 40'S 50'S 60+
1% 47% 26% 18% 7% 1%
Approx 58% of DUI Drivers arrested in their 20's are enhanced (.20 or higher) or 2nd offense
Average BAC (blood alcohol level): .159, double the legal limit of .08
Enhanced (.20 or higher) 2nd Offence in 10 years Felony
15% 9% 1%
= 25% of all DUI's are either enhanced, multiple offenders or felonies.
BOISE CITY ATTORNEY’S OFFICE - DUI PROSECUTION STATS,
Jan, 2009 – Dec 16, 2009: Total DUI charges: 2032
94% - plead guilty
3% - charges reduced
1.8% - dismissed
1% - found guilty at trial
> ½ of 1% - charge not filed, acquitted
Boise Police join other law enforcement agencies and the ITD Office of Highway Safety to provide these tips to help make holiday party season safer:
• Make plans to not drink and drive before you start drinking. Alcohol impairs a person’s judgement. You can’t count on making the right decision after you’ve started drinking!
• Whenever you plan on consuming alcohol, designate a sober driver before you leave and give that person your keys.
• If you are impaired, call a taxi or sober friend or family member to get you home safely. Some taxi services may offer free or discounted rides to party goers during the holiday season.
• When entertaining, offer non-alcoholic beverages.
• Promptly report drunk drivers to law enforcement by calling 9-1-1.
• Wear your safety belt while in your car or use a helmet and protective gear when on a motorcycle. These are the best defenses against an impaired driver.
• If you know someone who is about to drive while impaired, take his or her keys and help make other safe travel arrangements.
• Motorists are encouraged to plan ahead and dial 5-1-1 or visit 511.idaho.gov for the latest conditions on the state highway or interstate system.
Chief Masterson's remarks from today's News Briefing announcing increased DUI patrols:
Good Afternoon and Welcome
I’m surrounded by a group of law enforcement colleagues, prosecutors, transportation officials and Mothers Against Drunk Driving Advocates and Families…
and we are here today to raise awareness on the subject of drunk driving… in particular during this Holiday Season.
Joining me here today are:
Boise City Attorney Cary Colaianni
Assistant Boise City Attorney Jodi Nafzger
From Canyon County:
Caldwell Police Chief Chris Allgood
Deputy Chief Craig Kingsbury from Nampa Police
Meridian Police, Chief Jeff Lavey
Lt. Dana Borgquist, Ada County Sheriff’s Office patrol Commander,
Garden City Police Sgt. Blair Brannan, traffic enforcement supervisor,
Captain Steve Richardson, Idaho State Police Region 3.
And our Very Special Guests:
Gary & Anita Lew with MADD
Meeden Abarusa with MADD
Kevin Bechen with the Idaho Office of Highway Operations and Safety, a division of the Idaho Transportation Department.
Kevin and his office are an important part of the enforcement we do. ITD helps Boise PD and many other local agencies with grant money to pay for extra patrols and overtime …Kevin – Thank You.
And Thanks to Media who have made time to be here today. Your participation is vital to the success we have in getting our message out to citizens about drinking and driving.
Before we get started talking about our DUI education and enforcement campaigns this holiday…
Mr. & Mrs. Gary & Anita Lew, and our partners with MADD have brought something that speaks to the urgency of this message much more powerfully than anything we can say.
There’s a car parked outside, so destroyed you can’t even tell what make or model it is.
It’s a car that was last driven by a young father… a beloved son… who became the innocent victim of a horribly violent crime.
Dan Lew was hit by a wrong way drunk driver on I-84 in July of 2004. Both Dan and the drunk driver were killed.
This vehicle serves as a vivid reminder to citizens… and particularly those of us in law enforcement about WHY we are so passionate about DUI enforcement.
We need to have that passion, to be aware and alert to drunk or impaired drivers before we have to respond to a crash.
We are the thin blue line between arresting people who make bad decisions or responding to the crash where others are dead or injured.
Our partners at the Idaho State Police investigated that crime when Dan Lew died.
Perhaps Capt. Richardson will speak to it, I understand the scene is still vivid in the memories of the investigating officers.
So many lives were changed forever that day.
We change lives every day we make a DUI arrest. Sometimes the difference we make is by one arrest on the side of a dark road and we never know how many other lives were spared that night by removing that drunk driver.
Other times it’s through news briefings like this one where our education message can reach thousands …and do our best to reach people before an arrest or before someone dies or is injured in a crash.
If education … or the very real chance that when you drink and drive you risk killing yourself or someone else… if that doesn’t stop the problem, we hope the legal consequences will.
Every agency represented here today has a zero tolerance for drunk drivers.
If we find you, and you’re driving impaired after drinking, you will be arrested and that’s just the start of your problems.
A DUI arrest can have a huge and perhaps devastating impact on the individual arrested. They face large court, legal and insurance fees. They also face consequences with their job or family. You will serve jail time.
We’re here today to ask for every citizens help in spreading this word – don’t drink and drive.
Here at Boise Police, the sergeant of our DUI unit, has analyzed this years DUI arrests and found a startling trend.
Our young people are driving dangerously impaired in alarming numbers.
Almost half the DUI arrests made by Boise Police this year were young drivers in their 20’s.
And of those, more than half the DUI arrests of people in their 20’s, the drivers were enhanced… meaning the driver had an extremely high blood alcohol content, point-2-0 or over… or is a repeat drunk driver, getting arrested for a second, sometimes a third time.
Idaho’s young people have bright futures that they’re risking that future by driving heavily intoxicated.
Some other alarming statistics from right here in Boise…
25%... more than one-in-four DUI arrests are either enhanced, again meaning a blood alcohol level almost three- times the legal limit, .20… or are repeat DUI arrests… or are felonies, meaning they’ve been involved in a crash where someone was hurt. That’s one in four DUI arrests.
Our DUI problem is not going away.
The average BAC – blood alcohol content of a drunk driver arrested in Boise was .159… twice the legal limit.
And finally, one more statistic… the highest blood alcohol content found in a drunk driver in Boise this year was .367. … more than four times the legal limit and the driver was on the road.
Again – so are our officers.
Some of our officers from almost all our agencies have been victims of drunk drivers while on duty.
Our officers work in their cars,.. they’re very likely to become victims… but they stay on the roads because getting drunk drivers OFF the roads is a priority for law enforcement in the Treasure Valley.
You drink… you drive impaired… we find you… you will be arrested.
And in Boise City and elsewhere in this Valley,… if you’re arrested for DUI, chances are extremely high, you’ll be convicted of DUI.
I know I speak for all of us here , we appreciate the dedication and hard work of our prosecutors, who represent the other half of the law enforcement consequences to drinking and driving.
Boise City prosecutors, who prosecute all misdemeanor DUI’s from both Boise and Meridian, have a 95% conviction rate in DUI cases.
Our partners at the Idaho State Police Crime Lab have made several process improvements this year and are returning blood alcohol test results now in an average of ten days.
Getting those test results improves the ability of prosecutors to make timely and successful court cases.
In Boise, Nampa, Caldwell and the interstate that connects us, we now have a unique partnership in DUI enforcement, we think it will be very successful.
What these three cities have in common is we all have large venues that host a number of events where alcohol is sold and consumed by the large crowds that attend these events.
Boise, Nampa, Caldwell and the Idaho State Police, this fall formed the Treasure Valley DUI Task Force,
We have signed a mutual aid – joint powers agreement that allows our officers to work in each others jurisdictions.
We can call on this task force anytime, but it’s already proven very effective here in Boise. We had officers from task force agencies help patrol Boise after some of the larger football games this fall. We made a large number of arrests each of those weekends. We believe our streets and sports fans were safer because of it. You will also see task force member officers out working together at special events like concerts and rodeos throughout the year.
We work every day with our law enforcement partners at Meridian, Garden City, and Ada County on all types of enforcement.
We share the same commitment to safe roads and zero DUI tolerance.
Let me introduce a very special guest. It was Gary and Anita Lew who brought the smashed, destroyed car to the front of our police station today. Gary and Anita’s son, Dan died in that car.
Since then, the Lews have spent thousands of hours working with MADD, taking their son’s car to locations and events like this to try and keep drunk drivers off the road.
It’s people like the Lews who inspire us to keep doing what we do.
Here’s the bottom line…
All of us work together to combat DUI every day.
Thanks for a grant from the ITD Office of Highway Safety … Boise Police and most of the agencies here will have extra officers on patrol looking for drunk and impaired drivers beginning tomorrow, Dec. 18th through New Years Day.
Last year, 96 people died in impaired-driving crashes on Idaho's highways.
To help educate people on the affects alcohol has on them...Boise Police will have the Lew's vehicle down with our mobile substation this Saturday night, in the heart of the downtown Boise entertainment district... on 6th Street just south of Main.
Our officers will provide FREE breathalyzer tests to anyone interested.
We have to thank MADD for their support in this effort.
During the holidays, MADD asks the public to display MADD’s red ribbons on vehicles to support its premier public awareness campaign- Tie One On For Safety.
T hat campaign calls for stepped-up law enforcement in support making high visibility enforcement a priority.
We urge people to get more education on drunk and impaired driving prevention … you can find it this afternoon on the Boise Police web site and Facebook page.
For all of the officers we represent here…Thank you for attending today, for joining together to rededicate ourselves to drunk driving enforcement.
We wish a Happy and SAFE Holiday.