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Austin Police Department DWI Enforcement Program

NCJ Number
Police Chief Volume: 73 Issue: 8 Dated: August 2006 Pages: 116-121
Vic White; Kyran FitzGerald; Sharon Bauer
Date Published
August 2006
6 pages
This article describes the development and operation of the Austin Police Department's (Texas) DWI (driving while intoxicated) enforcement program.
After a study of alcohol-involved crashes in the city in January 1998, a DWI task force was created. The task force's goals were to seek out impaired drivers and to inform the public of this intensification of the enforcement of DWI laws. Officers were reassigned from their normal duties, on a rotational basis, to spend time patrolling for impaired drivers. When available, task force officers relieved patrol officers of DWI arrests in order to allow patrol officers to respond to calls for service. In September 1998, the task force was replaced with a DWI Enforcement Team, which operated under the direction of the traffic administration section. For the first 2 days of each week the team was deployed to the same area to target drunk drivers with high-visibility tactics, so as to deter others from driving while impaired. The team was then deployed citywide for the remainder of each week. In the spring of 2004, a highway enforcement command was created to address growing concerns about traffic safety; the DWI Enforcement Team, along with other special traffic enforcement units were integrated into a comprehensive approach to daytime and nighttime traffic safety. In mid-2004 the department purchased a used special-transit bus that was modified to create a mobile DWI processing unit. The successes of the DWI Enforcement Team led to its expansion in March 2005 to become the DWI Enforcement Unit. This unit continually examines the best practices of departments nationwide and incorporates lessons learned into it own operations.