This is what happens when you give the cops to much money......predator policing... we already pay beat cops to handle DWI.
FCPD launches DWI Enforcement Squad; out there now looking for holiday partiers
· By Angela Woolsey/Fairfax County Times
Drinking and driving is never a good idea, but it might be especially ill-advised this holiday season, as the Fairfax County Police Department (FCPD) has dedicated personnel and resources specifically toward tackling this issue.
FCPD’s driving while intoxicated (DWI) enforcement squad launched out of the department’s operations support bureau in Annandale on Dec. 1.
Paid and equipped through a federal grant administered by the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), the new unit will exclusively handle incidents and cases involving people who operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and other drugs.
“The value of the work that you will be doing will literally prevent folks from being killed,” Captain Bob Blakley, who commands the traffic division of FCPD’s operations support bureau, told the squad during a pre-patrol briefing. “You all will be the front lines, the tip of the spear for the police department to curb this behavior.”
According to Robert Weakley, Fairfax district program manager for the Virginia DMV’s highway safety office, FCPD’s DWI Enforcement Squad is the third such unit in the state, which is in the second year of a pilot program that has also started in the Tidewater and Roanoke regions.
The overall frequency of alcohol-related crashes in Fairfax County has declined in recent years, and the police department hopes its new enforcement squad will help continue that downward trend.
Fairfax County had 523 alcohol-related crashes in 2015, compared to 600 in 2013, according to Blakley.
FCPD’s 2015 annual report found that, of the 22 fatal crashes in the county last year, seven of them involved alcohol, the same number as in 2013, when there were 26 fatal crashes in all. The county had eight alcohol-related fatal crashes out of 23 total incidents in 2014.
“We’ve seen a decline, and we want to keep it that way. We’re working towards zero deaths,” Weakley said.
The squad has nine officers, including a supervisor, who were selected based in part on their records for enforcing highway safety.
Sporting a collective average of 241 DWI arrests annually over the past seven years, the eight patrol officers on the squad will work from 7:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. in four-day rotations, focusing on areas around the county that the department’s crime analysis unit has found to be hot spots for impaired driving.
During its first patrol, the squad was assigned to work the Mason and West Springfield districts.
The DWI Enforcement Squad will mark a change in approach for the appointed officers, who normally have to respond to all calls for service.
“Without having to deal with a patrol area and having other calls come out that you have to be dispatched to, you’re primarily dealing with [impaired drivers], so you’re not being diverted,” Pfc. Nicolas Pyzowski, one of the squad members, said.
Formerly a midnight patrol officer at FCPD’s Mount Vernon station, Pyzowski says that he has always concentrated a lot of his efforts on addressing drunk or impaired drivers, in part because those were the kinds of calls he frequently encountered on the night shift.
So, when he heard the department was forming a new team solely for this purpose, he immediately applied. He found out that he’d been accepted shortly after an interview in October.
DWI arrests can be time-consuming, requiring extensive paperwork, and they can sometimes be confrontational, though Pyzowski says they’re generally not more dangerous than any other encounters police officers might have.
Despite these challenges, Pyzowski sees enforcing impaired driving laws as a crucial part of his duty as a public safety officer.
“I felt it was very important to make a good impact on the community to get those drunk drivers off the road to save their lives and anyone else they could put in harm’s way,” the patrolman said.
Virginia law states that anyone driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher is considered legally to be driving under the influence, but drivers can still be arrested with a lower BAC if their ability to operate their vehicle is impaired, according to the Virginia DMV.
Driving under the influence of drugs incurs the same penalties as driving under the influence of alcohol.
Along with increasing its enforcement efforts, Fairfax County emphasizes that prevention is an important factor in addressing impaired driving.
“We back this up with a heavy education media outreach type program, but we know that education alone, it has to work hand-in-hand with enforcement,” Weakley said. “If someone gets stopped, they [will] feel safer knowing their police is out there trying to prevent fatalities and serious injuries.”