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Getting and Keeping Drunk Drivers Off America's Roads

NCJ Number
Law and Order Volume: 52 Issue: 9 Dated: September 2004 Pages: 12,14,16
Janet Dewey-Kollen
Date Published
September 2004
3 pages
Sponsored by the Marion County Prosecutor's Office and the Marion County Traffic Safety Partnership (Indiana), the FACT (Fatal Alcohol Crash Team) program has improved outcomes for drunk-driving cases.
Created in 2002, the FACT squad is charged with investigating fatal alcohol-involved crashes and fatal hit-and-run crashes countywide. FACT blends cutting-edge investigations by specialists from traffic and homicide divisions of participating enforcement agencies with the legal resources of an on-the-scene prosecutor, who handles the case from initial investigation to conclusion. Of the 50 cases handled since the inception of FACT, all of the closed cases resulted in a conviction; no evidence has been suppressed; and most cases resulted in the defendant pleading guilty to the highest level of felony charge. The average jail sentence in 2004 has been 6 years compared to the average of 3 years in 2001. FACT currently has 5 squads composed of 26 team members. The greatest challenge in developing the FACT program was combining the resources of the various investigating agencies, which had variations in protocols, training, investigator qualifications, and other factors. The challenge has been addressed by integrating the best practices of each agency. Team members receive extensive introductory training and cross-training and meet quarterly to review cases and receive briefings on new relevant State statutes and court decisions.