Dallas Police Criticized for Lackluster DWI Enforcement

DALLAS - Sunday evening there will be champions on the field and unfortunately there will be losers off the field who choose to drink and drive says Mothers Against Drunk Driving who are pleading with people to make the right choice. 

 
Jason Derschied is the Executive Director of North Texas Mothers Against Drunk Driving. He says in 2014 there were 43 deaths on Super Bowl Sunday. He says it's the 2nd deadliest day of the year on roadways.
 
The Dallas Police Association says the Dallas Police Department has had a decrease of 54% in DWI arrests over the last several years and the DPA says it's not because fewer people are driving drunk.
 
DPA President Ron Pinkston says it's because the department slashed the number of DWI officers from 10. 
 
In a statement Dallas police say, "there will be three dedicated DWI elements that will be working tonight. Also there will be patrol officers in each division who are trained in the standardized sobriety testing process working tonight as well."
 
"It's a mistake to only have 3 DWI officers working Super Bowl Sunday in a city the size of Dallas," said Pete Schulte, a criminal defense attorney, reserve deputy and former prosecutor. He says it's also a mistake to assume patrol officers are qualified to properly conduct DWI cases because they handle so few.
 
"If they don't do it every day, it's kind of the equivalent of having a general surgeon doing heart surgery.  You don't want that. You want a heart surgeon that does it multiple times a week verses someone who does it once a year," said Schulte who also defends DWI suspects and says it makes his job easier when he doesn't have to battle regular experienced DWI officers in the courtroom. 
 
Next week the Dallas Police Department plans to beef up the DWI squad to 18 officers.
 
"This is something that's got to be maintained. There's got to be a minimum of 10 DWI officers. Eighteen I think is great, but 10 has got to be the bare minimum," said Schulte.
 
Derscheid is hoping people make the right choices when it comes to drinking and driving on Super Bowl Sunday, and he's optimistic about the future of the DWI squad.
 
"They're going to have 18.  Coming from one, it's a huge improvement so we're excited that they're making a big shift in making sure that DWI enforcement is something that is really taken as a priority," said Derscheid.
 
Officers say it can often take up to four hours or longer for patrol officers to make a DWI arrest from beginning to end. But DWI officers trained to do just that can often process as many as three cases during a shift.
 
Dallas police and Mothers Against Drunk Driving are expected to make an announcement later this week about efforts to crack down on drunk driving.
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