2010 Holiday Impaired Driving Task Force - Kentlands Neighborhood Watch
On Wednesday, November 17, law enforcement agencies within
Montgomery County will begin a multi-agency task force designed to help
ensure that everyone enjoys the upcoming holiday season while remembering
the importance of not driving while impaired. This year's task force is
comprised of members of the Montgomery County Police Alcohol Initiatives
Unit, along with officers from each of the six Montgomery County police
districts. They are joined by law enforcement officers from across the
county and the Maryland State Police to devote their full time and attention
to detecting alcohol-related offenses. Included in this group are a number
of officers specially trained as Drug Recognition Experts, who have
expertise in detecting violators who are impaired by prescription drugs or
Several techniques and initiatives that will be utilized during
the Holiday Task Force are: saturation patrols, compliance checks,
controlled dispersal of underage drinking parties, covert surveillance of
alcohol establishments, and sobriety checkpoints.
Saturation patrols consist of active enforcement of traffic laws
in areas known for a high number of alcohol-related tragedies. Based on
accident and arrest data, additional officers will be assigned to these
areas, with the goal of getting the drunk or drug-impaired drivers off the
Compliance checks use underage volunteers who attempt to purchase alcohol at
establishments which hold alcohol licenses. These volunteers do not
misrepresent their age or provide false identification. These compliance
checks take place county-wide to ensure that shopkeepers are careful not to
sell alcohol to minors. Surveillance of local businesses who sell alcohol
will take place by officers in plain clothes and unmarked cars.
During the holiday season, police routinely respond to calls for
underage drinking parties. Once it is confirmed that alcohol is being
consumed by attendees under the age of 21, the controlled dispersal plan is
enacted to ensure that everyone in attendance is able to get home safely.
All attendees are screened for alcohol usage, and those who are under age 21
are issued citations. Every person is then ensured a safe ride home. If
they are juveniles, their parents are notified to come and get them. Any
parent or other adult who hosts, or allows, an underage drinking party to take place, are liable for a fine of
up to $5,000 for EACH underage person in attendance. Anyone who becomes
aware of a party that is currently in progress should call 301-279-8000, the
police non-emergency number.
Finally, sobriety checkpoints will be conducted in conjunction with
"Checkpoint Strike Force", which is a combined effort in the National
Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Mid-Atlantic region to have
increased DUI patrols each weekend. Montgomery County Police support, "Over
the Limit, Under Arrest." The location of the checkpoints is based on
accident and traffic data focusing on areas drivers are most at risk for
encountering impaired drivers.
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