Cumberland Times-News

September 13, 2009

Police catch 540 suspected drunken drivers in two-week span

Equivalent to arrest every 53 minutes

From Staff Reports

CUMBERLAND — During the more than two weeks leading up to and including the Labor Day weekend, the 2009 Checkpoint Strikeforce campaign resulted in 540 drunken driving arrests throughout Maryland — equivalent to one arrest every 53 minutes.

Local and state law enforcement officers fanned out across the state conducting sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrols with one message for area drivers: Those who drink and drive will be caught.

Between Aug. 19 and Sept. 7, 36 sobriety checkpoints were held in conjunction with 38 saturation patrols specifically targeting impaired drivers. Significant results included:

• More than 25,000 vehicles passed through the checkpoints.

• 540 DUI arrests were made.

• 34 underage drinking arrests were made.

• 1,252 non-DUI citations were issued.

• 68 criminal arrests were made.

“Complacency cannot be tolerated when it comes to preventable crime, like drunk driving,” said Bernadette DiPino, president of Maryland Chiefs of Police Association and Chief of Police for Ocean City. “These numbers show that checkpoints work.”

The statewide Checkpoint Strikeforce campaign combines proactive public education and stepped-up enforcement efforts to effectively erase borders between jurisdictions in fighting drunken driving. More than 20 local law enforcement agencies participated in the enforcement wave, in addition to the Maryland State Police, Maryland Transportation Authority Police and Department of Natural Resources Police.

The campaign will continue through December and is supported in Maryland by a grant from the Maryland Department of Transportation’s State Highway Administration’s Highway Safety Office.