Washington State Patrol is No. 1 on continent for DUI enforcement

July 28, 2011

By Staff

NEW — 6 a.m. July 28, 2011

The numbers show the Washington State Patrol is tough on drunken drivers: Troopers arrested almost 20,000 last year.

For the effort, the International Association of Chiefs of Police named the Washington State Patrol as the top DUI enforcement agency in North America.

The honor recognizes agencies for “year-round efforts to detect and apprehend impaired drivers and to address impaired driving through policies, officer training, and public information and education.” The state patrol is due to receive the award in October at the International Association of Chiefs of Police conference in Chicago.

Washington State Patrol Chief John Batiste has told front-line troopers they have no higher priority than removing drunken drivers from the road.

“We consider every DUI arrest a potential life saved,” he said in a statement. “We never know which drunks will kill, but we know with certainty that some of them will. We’re committed to taking all of them off the road.”

Statewide, police agencies arrest about 40,000 impaired drivers each year. The state patrol accounts for about half of the total.

On July 22, a state law went into effect to requires the towing of vehicles driven by drivers arrested for DUI. The law, a state patrol priority during the 2011 legislative session, sets a 12-hour mandatory hold on such vehicles. Troopers said the goal is to prevent impaired drivers from returning to vehicles and driving again.

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