Statewide DWI enforcement campaign planned for holiday; county executive, commissioner of Central Police Services review 2019 DWI arrests YTD
Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz provided an update Tuesday on driving while intoxicated arrests in Erie County in 2019. He also encouraged safe driving around the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.
Through Nov. 19 of this year, 2,175 drivers were arrested for impaired driving, nearly identical to the figure for the same period in 2018 (2,171).
“I am encouraged that that Erie County law enforcement has maintained arrests levels during a period of declining arrests statewide,” Poloncarz said. “More and more people understand the effects that DWI crashes have on our community, and that the penalties associated with a DWI arrest can be legally and personally devastating. With the extended weekend coming up, it is important that people drive responsibly on our roadways. That responsibility especially applies to those who have had too much to drink and are in no condition to drive. Individuals who find themselves in such a situation should make alternative plans to get home, keeping themselves and everyone else on the road safer.”
Commissioner of Central Police Services James Jancewicz, Town of Hamburg Police Chief and President of the Erie County Chiefs of Police Association Greg Wickett, Director of the Erie County STOP-DWI Office John Sullivan, and Rick Mitri, founding member and longtime presenter for the Erie Country DWI Victim Impact Panel, joined Poloncarz.
Jancewicz added, “We are pleased of the continued historical decline in impaired driving and are committed to maintaining this trend through high visibility enforcement and the detection and apprehension of impaired drivers. Police in Erie County will conduct sobriety checkpoints during the holiday weekend to ensure the safety of our community.”
“Increased patrols and sobriety checkpoints are just one example of the high priority we put on drinking and driving prevention,” Wickett noted. “Our goal here is to remind drivers to find a safe way home so that they don’t hurt themselves or others – and for drivers who will not take this advice, law enforcement will be on patrol looking for you.”
Mitri added, “I have been on the STOP DWI panel since its inception in 1991. I share the panel with DWI crash survivors and surviving family members of those killed or injured. These are crashes, not accidents, because they are 100% preventable and almost 50% are impaired by drugs. The victims are your friends and neighbors who live with these consequences for the rest of their lives. But my story is a little different. I was impaired by alcohol and caused a crash. While no one else was injured, I almost lost my life. There is a great camaraderie among the panelists, and speaking helps as a healing process for panelists as we strive to prevent this tragedy from reoccurring.”
Sullivan said, “The Erie County STOP-DWI Office is glad to join similar offices across the state in promoting a statewide DWI crackdown during the Thanksgiving holiday. “We want drivers to be more aware of the penalties associated with DWI, the alternatives to driving after drinking, and to plan ahead for a safe ride home.”
For more information on the Erie County Department of Central Police Services, visit http://www2.erie.gov/cps/; or on the Erie County STOP-DWI Office, visit http://www2.erie.gov/cps/index.php?q=stop-dwi.