A year ago, Assistant County Manager Matt Landers really wasn't sure why DWI the number of arrests were down for the first part of 2017 but it was a countywide trend.
It's still not clear why arrests took a dip for more than six months but an interesting thing happened after a report was published about the dip -- the number of DWI arrests reported increased. The trend has continued in 2018, Landers said.
Yesterday, like last year, Landers, who is the STOP-DWI coordinator for the county, delivered his annual report on the program to the County Legislature's Ways and Means Committee.
The problem the program is facing this year is -- despite holding steady on the total number of arrests -- revenue is down for the program.
STOP-DWI is funded through fines imposed on convicted drunken drivers. Landers said he doesn't know if revenue is down because collections are down or if justices are imposing smaller fines.
With the drop in revenue, Landers is proposing a budget for 2019 that spends 40 percent less than 2018, though there will be no cuts to the amount spent on enforcement.
The STOP-DWI program provides funds to participating local law enforcement agencies for extra patrols focused entirely on DWI detection.
The $25,000 reduction in spending will mean some expenses, such as a portion of Lander's salary, will likely be shifted to the general fund.
Members of the committee said they recognized there is still a need for the program, which also assists in detecting and arresting people driving under the influence of drugs, which is a growing problem, even though there are probably fewer drunks on the road these days.
"It is better than the '80s and '90s but there’s still a need for the program," Landers agreed. "it’s a successful program."