Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Holiday project

Last night at the late shift lineup, the Lincoln Police Department kicked off our traditional holiday drunk driving enforcement project. For at least the past 15 years, December has been the month where we put special attention on DWI—with great effect. It’s a good month to focus on, because the booze flows freely at lots of holiday events. We’re engaged in this life-saving work to do just that: save lives.

Last year’s 2,253 drunk driving arrests by LPD officers broke the record for a single year, shattering the mark that had stood for 34 years. This year, through the first ten months, we are running 5.2% ahead of 2008. It is almost a certainty that the bar will be set even higher by the end of 2009. There have been some particularly noteworthy drunk driving cases so far this year, and a couple hundred more can be reasonably anticipated.

A lot of hard work will take place by our night shift officers, not only during December, but throughout the year as these cases proceed through court, which inevitably requires their attendance in the middle of their “night.” I lift my cap to them in advance, for the job well done that I will be congratulating them for after the dawn of the new year.


Anonymous said...

Here's one from last night. How far over the limit did the driver test?

Tom Casady said...


Unknown at present. We had to get blood drawn, so it will be a while before lab work is done on the sample.

Anonymous said...

I think this project started even further back than 15 years. I seem to recall the SW 3rd shift squad doing this under the tutelage of Sgt. Siefkes in the late 80's. The whole concept took off from there. MADD got involved after about 3 years.

Tom Casady said...

8:43 -

I think you're right. Late 80's or early 90's, for sure.

Watchful said...

It seems the public perception is that there is an emphasis on addressing DUI drivers each holiday season and on St. Patrick's day.

The media plays that up because there are press releases about the special funding which allows manpower to be focused on a project.

Do last year's numbers though impressive, reflect the entire year or only when there was Highway Safety monty?

What would be interesting to see is the impact on the special emphasis over the years versus the entire year.... showing the effectiveness of that task force.

Tom Casady said...


It is a year-round effort, although there are peaks and valleys, as in everything we do. Those grant-funded special projects probably contribute less than 10% of the total. We try to use these holidays, checkpoints, and special details, though, as a way of building up publicity and raising public awareness of the risk of drunk driving. Here's the breakdown of DWI arrests by month in 2008:

Jan 173
Feb 168
Mar 211
Apr 178
May 193
Jun 196
Jul 176
Aug 168
Sep 181
Oct 182
Nov 186
Dec 206