Police step up DUI patrols on New Year’s Eve

ROANOKE (WSLS 10) – New Year’s Eve means all hands on deck for local law enforcement.

The DMV has provided a grant for local police departments to add extra patrols on Saturday night.

If you’re thinking about getting behind the wheel this weekend after drinking, Roanoke County Chief Police Howard Hall said to prepare to face the consequences, “They’re going to go to jail. There’s no warning for DUI.”

Police will be out in full force doing saturation patrols looking for signs of impaired drivers. It’s a duty Roanoke County doesn’t take lightly.

“We will be using a no refusal approach, which means that if someone refuses the chemical test, we will ask a magistrate for a search warrant, to draw their blood,” Hall said.

As crowds head to downtown so will Sgt. Susanna Camp with the Roanoke City Police Department. She said their motivation is to save lives, “So often the people who are hurt by drunk driving aren’t the driver. They are the victims.”

She said her goal is not to make a high number of arrests, but instead reduce the number of victims.

“The police department has begun to look at our crime statistics instead of you know, how many arrests can we make, or how many tickets did you right, not that we have a quota or anything like that, but the idea is a reduction in the number of victims is how we gauge our success,” Camp said.

Many police departments are replacing DUI checkpoints with saturation patrols

The method works.

Over the past five years, the city of Roanoke has maintained an aggressive approach to curbing drinking and driving on New Year’s Eve. The number of arrests officers have made has decreased.

  • 2011- 7
  • 2012 -2
  • 2013 -1
  • 2014 -1
  • 2015 -0

“At the end of New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, if we can look back at the evening shift and everybody has gone out, they’ve been able to celebrate and have a good time with their friends, enjoy their holiday and make it home safely and we don’t have any DUI accidents or injuries, that’s exactly what we want. That’s what we would look back on as a successful night,” Camp said.

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