DA: DWI Task Force a Success; BWI Enforcement Is Next

Multi-agency enforcement effort will take on boating while intoxicated.

The heads of several village, town, county and state level law enforcement agencies — as well as the U.S. Coast Guard — joined Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota on Friday afternoon in Hampton Bays to laud the success of the new East End DWI Task Force — and announce that the joint effort will now extend to the water.

Spota in late May, just in time for  Memorial Day weekend. Since then, it's been a busy summer for police officers who Spota deputized so they could cross jurisdictions for drunk and drugged driving crackdowns. Spota said Friday that scores of drivers under the influence were arrested throughout the East End since Memorial Day, thanks to the task force, making the roads safer for residents and summer visitors.

Just over Labor Day weekend, the task force made 19 DWI arrests, two for driving while impaired and three for drug possession, Spota said. And on June 23, during a weekend when many high school seniors were celebrating graduation, he said, there were 26 DWIs, six impaired drivers and five drug arrests.


With the backdrop of the Shinnecock Bay, Spota said at during a press conference that the DWI task force will continue its efforts throughout the year, including during the holiday season. And now, with the aid of the Coast Guard and marine divisions of East End law enforcement agencies, the task force will take to the local bays to crack down on boating while intoxicated.

To illustrate the dangers of boating while intoxicated, Spota pointed to an that killed a West Islip father.

"As aggressive as we are on the land, we should be on the water," Spota said.

Taxpayers do not bear any of the costs of the DWI task force and will not pay for new stepped up enforcement on the water, he said. "The residents of the East End will not pay a nickel."

To cover police overtime costs, his office has contributed $80,000 that was collected through criminal asset forfeiture, Spota said.

Suffolk County STOP-DWI — or Special Traffic Options Program for Driving While Intoxicated — put in another $30,000, which was raised through fines collected from drunk drivers, said Doug Death, the highway safety program manager for Suffolk.


Bill September 15, 2012 at 11:01 AM
If all the outspoken drunks and conspiracy theorists who have commented above lost someone to a drunk driver they would quickly forget about their unquantified thoughts on politics, money, and the infantile excuse that most people make it home safe after drinking. I never seen so many self righteous irresponsible mindsets in any other region of New York. Wake up.
ADAM LLOYD September 15, 2012 at 12:33 PM
cm September 15, 2012 at 02:58 PM
All patrol cars are in watermill but they did give 2 to Flanders/Riverside. Hope that helps.....
Drtee-Dancer September 15, 2012 at 03:49 PM
I'm alcolholc in recovery - been sober since Sept. 7, 2007 - spent 1 year in jail (Yaphank) due to my actions on driving an automobile. Learned quite a bit about sobriety by being in jail. Very fortunate ( & I say very fortunate) I never hurt or harmed anyone. To this day, I suffer from low self esteem. I commend Southampton Village, Sag Harbor Village & East Hampton Town Police Depts. in the way they handled this miserable drunk.
Walter Noller September 15, 2012 at 06:24 PM
@Bill... Your calling names is totally uncalled for. The fact is anyone who loses a loved one via a motor vehicle or any accident will feel the pain of their loss forever and gets my sympathy. But it's not just from drunks and the numbers prove that. Good driving habits help and most just simply adhere to them. Over 66% of highway deaths are from other factors and many are due to people just not knowing how to drive or how to respond to potential danger, many times over reacting or just being unaware of the dangers they put themselves in. If you want to use numbers, you can make them work to your advantage. I still say a positive influence in ones' driving habits makes for safe roads. When was the last time you took a defensive driving course? The money used to teach "drunks a lesson" could as easily be used to teach a course... A positive. I am concerned about the over use of law enforcement and the fact this untimately effects our freedoms. Think of it this way, the most dangerous thing we all feel we're entitled to use is a car and yet many simply drive poorly and do nothing to undo their lack of knowledge. It's not opinion on this point, it's years of teaching defensive driving from which I speak.


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