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Extra drunken driving patrols set for New Year's Eve

Grant money helps put more officers on local roads

Dec. 24, 2012

Police will increase patrols on New Year's Eve in an effort to catch drunken drivers as part of a High Visibility OWI Enforcement Deployment.

Law enforcement agencies from Waukesha and Milwaukee counties make up the Southeast Wisconsin Drunk Driving Task Force, dedicated to a concentrated effort to deter drunken driving. These agencies work together to "stop, test and arrest" suspected drunken drivers.

Financed by a grant from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation Bureau of Transportation Safety, officers will be visible at multiple locations on city streets looking for drivers who are being reckless, swerving from their lane, failing to stop for traffic signals or otherwise endangering safety.

The City of Brookfield Police Department received a $35,000 grant from the Bureau of Transportation to conduct extra patrols meant to deter drunken drivers during the 2013 fiscal year, which runs from October, 2012, to September, 2013.

The Transportation Safety Bureau aides departments with safety programs and polices, such as drunken driving, speed limit enforcement, and seat belt law enforcement, throughout the state.

Police from the city and town of Brookfield and village of Elm Grove will participate in Monday's deployment.

"The law enforcement agencies have coordinated their efforts to ensure local roads, county roads, state highways and the interstate system will be properly patrolled," Brookfield police Capt. Phil Horter said. "Law enforcement is certainly committed to doing their part and we would certainly request that all others do their part, including drivers, professional servers and those hosting private holiday parties, and other citizens who believe they see an impaired driver or someone who they believe to be impaired and about to drive."

Monday night's deployment will start with street corner roll calls at several intersections in target areas in Milwaukee and Waukesha counties. Brookfield's roll call will take place at the intersection of 126th Street and Bluemound Road.

The smaller roll calls are a new change for the task force this year. In the past, one large roll call was held, with officers from participating areas traveling to areas outside their jurisdiction to meet before taking to the streets.

Horter said the smaller roll calls mean officers travel less and have more time to catch drunken drivers during the deployment.

"It makes sense to have multiple local roll calls rather than to have officers driving 20 to 30 minutes just to get to a roll call - that time can be spent patrolling," he said.

Horter credits the teamwork between participating municipalities for the success of the task force.

"The coordinated effort among law enforcement agencies from the local, county and state level make it much more difficult to get from point A to point B if you are operating under the influence," he said.

During the first deployment with the roll call changes, on Nov. 21, 44 officers from 13 departments made 16 drunken driving arrests and issued 169 citations, including one arrest each in the city and town of Brookfield and one arrest in Elm Grove.

At a second deployment Dec. 15, 36 officers from 10 departments made 14 drunken driving arrests and issued 164 citations, including two arrests each in Brookfield and Elm Grove.

According to a Wisconsin Department of Transportation report, there were 28,729 drunken driving convictions in Wisconsin in 2011.

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