Fewer arrests reported from STOP-DWI patrols, but hard to say that means fewer drunks on the road
Dedicated DWI patrols by local law enforcement agencies are nabbing fewer drunken drivers and Matt Landers, assistant county manager and head of the STOP-DWI program for the county, would like to think that means the STOP-DWI program is being effective.
But that's hard to say for sure.
It could be a result of recent turnover in local agencies or some other factor.
It does mean there is less money available to fund STOP-DWI patrols.
Landers delivered a report on the state of the program to the Ways and Means Committee of the County Legislature on Wednesday.
"The numbers may be down because of turn over in the agencies," Landers said. "I'm told it takes a while for new officers to get on board. When officers get into their third and fourth years, that's the sweet spot, I'm told. That's when they're comfortable and experienced."
The number of arrests have dropped from 228 in 2015 to 183 last year and a projected 166 this year.
The cost per arrest was $900 in 2015 and a projected $1,344 in 2017.
Funds for STOP-DWI are generated only by arrests by the dedicated enforcement patrols, not arrests by regular patrols. CORRECTION: Fines from all DWI arrests go to STOP-DWI.
The funds are also used for education programs in the schools and programs such as the STOP-DWI night at the Batavia Muckdogs game.
Legislator Ed DeJaneiro applauded the education efforts. He thinks that not only does it help the children, the children might take that message home to their parents.
"Education is key, I think," DeJaneiro said.
As a result of fewer arrests, it gives the appearance that the cost per arrest has doubled and Legislature Chairman Ray Cianfrini wondered if there was a way to reduce the cost per arrest and Landers said he didn't really know of a way to do that.
More traffic stops might help, but that comes back to an experience issue.
"I've been on a couple of ride-alongs," Landers said. "Coincidently, I don't know, but there are perhaps 15, 16, 17 stops when I'm in the car. When I'm not in the car, there's three or four."
Last fall, Landers helped organized the program's first awards luncheon, with Jocelyn Sikorski at the Youth Bureau, at Terry Hills Restaurant and Banquet Facility. It honored the year's top cops for DWI arrests and Landers said that event will be held again this year. It's something he is making an annual event.
I wonder if a study will be done to find out if ride-sharing (e.g. Uber, Lyft, etc) has anything to do with the drop.