Holiday DUI: Local law enforcement agencies are cracking down

CSRA News

Officers are in the middle of a three-day course on detecting drunk drivers.

The Burke County Sheriff’s Office is working with the state of Georgia, to make sure deputies do their best to keep our streets safe.

“We’re not trying to empty ticket books or run out of rolls in our ticket printers,” said Brad Owens. “We’re out there to save lives.”

Burke County, as well as several other law enforcement agencies, are preparing its officers and deputies what to look for when it comes to drunk driving.

The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety and Georgia Public Safety Training Center are leading a DUI detection course.

“You’re getting the proper instructions,” explained Owens. “The proper administration and demonstrations of the test; and watching and knowing what you are seeing. Making sure you know you see that there is a clue there.”

The Georgia Field Sobriety coordinator told NewsChannel 6 reporter Devin Johnson drunk driving goes up during the holidays.

“They are in a part of the year where they are going to take this training outside of the classroom on to the road; in a time period where there is more instance of drinking a driving a lot of times,” said Owens.

The deputies are getting experience with the real thing. Each group has one volunteer who had a few drinks in a controlled situation.

Then the deputy has to use what they have learned in the course. One volunteer says this course could save a lot of lives.

“Even if you had one beer it’s not worth it to do it,” explained Jacob Lamberth. “There is the circumstance of you losing your license, and other things could change your life dramatically.”

Owens says there have been more than 1,300 deaths in Georgia this year. He is hoping the students and volunteers have a new outlook when comes to driving under the influence.

“Before we told you what your actual number was, did you understand feeling as you do right now mean,” said Brad Owens. “Now they have a better understanding of how that impairment sets in and what they feel like.”

“Don’t do it,” explained Lamberth. “This course changes my output because that one drink can change your life.”

Each officer will be tested on what they learned on the final day of the course.

Then they will use that knowledge when they get back to work. It’s all part of their mission to reduce the number of fatalities on Georgia’s roads. 

Photojournalist: Antony Sherrod

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