Kent Police, Target Zero teams plan extra DUI patrols Super Bowl Sunday
January 31, 2011 · 11:13 AM
Kent Police will add extra drunk driving patrols Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 6, as part of the Target Zero crackdown in King, Pierce and Snohomish Counties to arrest drivers who have been celebrating with too much alcohol.
Nearly three dozen police officers, county sheriff's office deputies and state troopers will hit the streets in the hours following Super Bowl XLV, according to a Washington State Patrol media release. Kickoff between the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers is at 3:30 p.m. Sunday on FOX.
The Target Zero teams are asking for the public's help to keep others safe.
“Fans don’t let fans drive drunk,” said State Patrol Chief John R. Batiste. “Baseball has the designated hitter. On Super Bowl Sunday we need designated drivers to make sure their fellow fans get home safely.”
Even if you can’t be a designated driver, you can help by calling 911 if you see a driver you think is impaired. State law permits drivers to use their cell phones to report emergencies to 911.
“An impaired driver is definitely an emergency,” said Snohomish County Sheriff John Lovick. “If you see someone you think is DUI, it’s appropriate to call 911 and report that.”
Studies by the state patrol have shown that ordinary drivers are very good at spotting impaired drivers. In cases where troopers were able to catch up to reported DUIs, about half were found to be impaired.
Target Zero teams are structured with a full-time core of state troopers, joined by deputies and officers from local agencies when staffing and funding permit. The goal is to eliminate drunk driving deaths.
“It’s great to see our officers working side-by-side with deputies and troopers,” said Bellevue Police Chief Linda Pillo. “We all want the same thing- to save lives.”
New computer mapping techniques allow the teams to be deployed based on objective patterns of data:
• Locations of previous drunk-driving fatalities.
• Locations where citizens have repeatedly reported impaired drivers.
• Prior DUI arrests.
The Target Zero teams were activated on July 1, so this will be their first Super Bowl effort. In 2010, the Washington State Patrol arrested 19 impaired drivers in the tri-county area in the post-game hours. That does not include arrests made by allied agencies.
A State Patrol aircraft equipped with forward looking infra-red (FLIR) technology will assist in the patrols. Callers who report an impaired driver may be patched through to the pilot, who will then monitor the suspect vehicle until an officer on the ground can catch up.
Target Zero is the state’s Strategic Highway Safety Plan, which calls for all traffic deaths to be eliminated by the year 2030. Because about 45 percent of highway fatalities are DUI-related, the Target Zero Teams were established to attack that one source of tragedy.
The participating agencies in King County include police officers from Kent, Auburn, Renton, Federal Way, Bellevue, Kirkland, Redmond, Snoqualmie and Seattle as well as deputies from the King County Sheriff's Office.