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Friday, March 14, 2014 at 9:08 am

Local police plan stepped up DWI enforcment for St. Patty's weekend

post by Howard Owens in batavia, crime, STOP-DWI

Press release:

Genesee County STOP-DWI Program announced today that Genesee County police agencies will participate in a special enforcement effort to crackdown on impaired driving.

The statewide STOP-DWI Crackdown efforts start on March 15th and will end on March 18th. St. Patrick’s Day week is historically a deadly period for impaired driving. This year St. Patrick’s Day is on a Monday and that will extend the weekend until Tuesday for many people. The New York State Police, County Sheriff and municipal law enforcement agencies will collaborate across the state and will be out in force in this coordinated effort to reduce the number of alcohol-related injuries and deaths during this period.

Batavia City Police Chief Shawn Heubusch stated, “The City of Batavia Police Department encourages everyone celebrating to do so safely and have a designated driver. Do not get behind the wheel of a vehicle if you have been drinking. We wish everyone a safe and happy holiday weekend.”

Genesee County Undersheriff William Sheron stated, “St. Patrick's Day is well known as of day of celebration. Please celebrate responsibly. Avoid tragedy; Don't plan on the luck of the Irish, arrange for a designated driver.

The St. Patrick’s Day Weekend Crackdown is one of many statewide enforcement initiatives promoted by the New York State STOP-DWI Association. The Statewide STOP-DWI Crackdown Campaign also targets Memorial Day, 4th of July and Labor Day Weekend, Halloween and the national Holiday Season in December.

Genesee County STOP-DWI Coordinator Matt Landers stated, "Enforcement efforts like these have contributed to the steady decline in DWI accidents since the program was established. Families in Genesee County are safer while traveling the roads with a program like STOP-DWI funding extra patrols by our fine law enforcement professionals."

While STOP-DWI efforts across New York have led to significant reductions in the numbers of alcohol- and drug-related fatalities, still too many lives are being lost because of crashes caused by drunk or impaired drivers. Highly visible, highly publicized efforts like the STOP-DWI Crackdown Campaign aim to further reduce the incidence of drunk and impaired driving.

Monday, March 19, 2012 at 11:48 am

Sheriff's Office pleased with results of DWI checkpoints that netted two arrests

post by Howard Owens in batavia, crime, STOP-DWI

In one of the first-of-its-kind "enhanced" DWI check points in the state Saturday night, only two people were arrested for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Local law enforcement is considering that a success, according to Chief Deputy Gordon Dibble.

"The fact that people know we're out there helps," Dibble said. "A lot of people say, 'why put out a press release and let people know what you're doing,' but the whole idea is to cut down on drinking and driving."

The program was funded by a grant from the governor's office and was designed to make it harder for people to avoid the checkpoints.

The checkpoints were set up in three different locations -- all in the City of Batavia -- during the course of Saturday night, and extra patrols were in the area looking for people who might be trying to avoid the checkpoint.

When the checkpoints were moved, the patrols involved would engage in a period of saturation patrols looking for drunken drivers before the next checkpoint was set up.

Le Roy PD participated Saturday with extra DWI patrols in the village.

"Only 1 percent of DWI arrests come at checkpoints," Dibble said. "But what they do is raise public awareness as much as anything else."

The vast majority of people, Dibble said (as well as officers on scene Saturday night) were cooperative and even thanked officers for the extra effort to get drunken drivers off the road.

One misconception about the enhanced checkpoints that Dibble clarified is what conduct will lead an officer to stop a car.

Merely turning down a street prior to a checkpoint is not necessarily enough reason to stop somebody.

Dibble said there is case law dealing with the these kinds of stops. In one case, a car turned into a parking lot of a closed business prior to a checkpoint. That stop was upheld by the courts. In another case, a car turned down a street prior to a checkpoint and that case was thrown out.

"It makes a lot of sense to me," Dibble said. "What we tell our patrols is we want probable cause to pull somebody over anyways. Turning may warrant a closer look to see how they're driving, but we're going to look for how you are driving, how you're making a turn and do you appear like you should be on a highway."

During the course of Saturday night, the Sheriff's Office and Batavia PD set up roadblocks on Clinton and Oak streets, and Ellicott Street just west of Cedar Street.

Arrested on Saturday were Dale R. Maxwell, 51, of Hamilton Street, Albion, and Aaron R. Rodger, 23, of Ellicott Road, Caledonia.

Maxwell was charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or more and consumption of alcohol in a motor vehicle.

Rodger was charged with driving under the influence.

Additionally, 26 citations were issued, including citations for operating while registration suspended, unlicensed operation, expired inspection, consuming alcohol in a motor vehicle, unregistered motor vehicle, uninsured operation, uninspected motor vehicle, inadequate headlights, tinted windows, aggravated unlicensed operation, 3rd, and failure to yield right of way.

The governor's grant covers three more enhanced checkpoints this summer.

Dibble said the Sheriff's Office considers them a good idea and will continue to run them on high profile weekends when they can do the most good.

"It's all about keeping our highways safe for the people," Dibble said. "We want people to have a good time and to get home safely. That can easily be done with a little forethought and a little planning ahead."

Thursday, March 15, 2012 at 8:44 am

Sheriff's Office announces first 'enhanced' DWI checkpoint

post by Howard Owens in Sheriff's Office, STOP-DWI

The Sheriff's Office will run a first-of-its-kind experimental DWI checkpoint March 17 somewhere in the county.

The "enhanced" DWI checkpoints feature the common roadblock, but will also include road patrols in the area looking for drivers who are apparently trying to avoid the checkpoint.

The governor's office is funding enhanced checkpoints as an experiment in four counties to combat a growing prevalence of smart phone apps that help alert drivers to checkpoints as well as other means drivers might find out about a checkpoint and then try to avoid it.

On March 17, the Sheriff's Office will operate the checkpoint and Batavia PD, Le Roy PD and State Police will provide additional patrols.

An officer trained in drug recognition will be at the checkpoint to assist in identifying drivers suspected of being impaired by drugs.

Other enhanced DWI checkpoints will be scheduled during the year in the county, in Batavia and in Le Roy.

The overtime cost associated with the enhanced checkpoints is covered by a $21,775 state grant.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 1:53 pm

State Police investigation finds no criminal conduct in Corfu STOP-DWI funding

post by Howard Owens in corfu, STOP-DWI

A State Police investigation into the alleged misappropriation of STOP-DWI funds in Corfu has concluded there was no criminal wrongdoing in the case.

Allegations of malfeasance have been percolating in Corfu for months after Village Trustee Ralph Peterson first started looking into rumors that part-time police officers were being required to sign falsified time cards.

Investigator Ken Dubrinski concluded that there is no evidence any officers signed time cards that had notations on them claiming they were on DWI patrol when they were not.

STOP-DWI is a county program which uses funds from DWI fines to help pay for extra patrols by local law enforcement agencies -- either to operate DWI checkpoints or put DWI-specific patrols on the road.

Typically, the Village of Corfu Police Department has only one officer at a time on the road and that officer is engaged in general patrol duties. The only time two officers are on duty is during Darien Lake concerts, and one of those officers operates the intersection stop light at routes 33 and 77.

Even so, the village has been filing paperwork for STOP-DWI funding since at least 2009.

Dubrinski concluded that in the absence of falsified time cards, the filing of the STOP-DWI vouchers by the village clerk was the result of village officials misunderstanding how the program worked.

According to the investigator's report, obtained recently by The Batavian, the case started when Justice Robert Alexander (separately, a possible subject of an investigation into missing court funds) contacted Peterson and said that village police complained to him that they were being asked to sign time cards saying they were on DWI patrol when they were not.

Perterson told Dubrinski that he obtained copies of the program vouchers and interviewed police officers. He reportedly told Dubrinski that 39 out of 39 times, officers were reported to have worked DWI patrol but had only worked routine patrol.

Once officer told Dubrinski that he believed that the village was turning in STOP-DWI vouchers for any shift that resulted in a DWI arrest.

The officers interviewed by Dubrinski -- all seven or eight in the department are part-time -- said that as far back as a year ago, officers were asked to start signing time cards following a state audit. All said they had never been asked to sign a time card with additional notations on them.

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