Most drunk drivers get away with itOfficer Geoff Willems told the group that drunk driving is one of the hardest offenses to enforce with only one in every 2,000 violations caught, according to estimates.
That is one of the facts participants in Hudson’s first Citizen Police Academy learned in last week’s class about DWI arrests and other patrol strategies.
Officer Geoff Willems told the group that drunk driving is one of the hardest offenses to enforce with only one in every 2,000 violations caught, according to estimates.
Willems said that for every drunk driver who is caught, the same driver commits the same offense every four or five days without being caught — driving drunk more than 80 times a year, according to statistics.
Willems said that most drunk drivers are caught not because they are driving erratically but rather for some unrelated issue they are pulled over for, like a burned-out light or minor traffic violation.
Willems said officers notice things during that initial contact with the driver. “Sometimes you can smell it. Some guys start talking and don’t make any sense. They ask or answer the same question multiple times or don’t make eye contact with you. That’s when we ask for the field sobriety test.”
Willems demonstrated the test and what happens in an arrest on volunteer Steven Boeseneiler, who consumed around five drinks over an hour of the class and then submitted to the field sobriety test.
Class participants also took turns with “Fatal Vision Goggles,” which affect vision and equilibrium and simulate what it was like to be under the influence when taking a field test.
Willems said 30 percent of all crimes are believed to be committed while people are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Sixty percent of homicides are committed under the influence and 40 percent of suicides.
According to statistics, 2 percent of all drivers are impaired by drugs or alcohol at any given time. That number rises to around 12 percent on the weekends.
Willems said that it takes about five to six drinks in an hour to get a 175-pound man legally intoxicated, .08-.10. One drink is equivalent to 1 12-ounce beer, a 5-ounce glass of wine or a drink with 2.5 ounces of liquor.
Other subjects covered in the recent session included patrol strategies in different areas of the city as well as how and where to search a vehicle for weapons, drug and other contraband.
Upcoming classes include crime scene investigation, the use of deadly force, and defense and arrest tactics. Participants in the Citizen Police Academy are City Council members Lori Bernard, Lee Wyland, Randy Morrissette and Pam Brokaw, city treasurer Betty Caruso and Public Safety Commission members Tom Redner, Dale Willi and Mary Yacoub.
HPD Chief Marty Jensen said he expects that members of the public will be able to participate in another Citizen Police Academy in the fall. A nominal fee will be charged. For more information, contact the HPD at (715) 386-4771.