Three dozen officers from New Castle County police departments today were given authority to participate in Delaware's annual statewide DUI enforcement program, set to kick off next week.
Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden swore-in 36 officers from police departments in Middletown, Newark, New Castle City, Newport, the University of Delaware and Wilmington to participate in Checkpoint Strikeforce, a statewide campaign of weekly sobriety checkpoints that runs from the July 4holiday weekend to New Year’s Eve.
"Be forewarned – law enforcement officers will be on the streets to protect us and help save lives," Biden said to drivers who might consider getting behind the wheel while intoxicated. "Don’t put your life, the lives of your passengers, or other drivers at risk. Think twice before getting behind the wheel after drinking."
Last year, the program included 56 checkpoints that resulted in more than 2,200 arrests and citations for a wide range of offenses, including:
- 327 DUI arrests
- 39 underage drinking violations
- 92 fugitive arrests
- 217 citations for failure to wear a seatbelt
- 118 drug arrests
- 50 felony arrests
- 82 child restraint violations
- 29 cell phone violations
- Officers also recovered 7 concealed weapons and 5 stolen vehicles
Traffic fatalities across the First State increased 12 percent from 2011 to 116 last year. Nearly half of those (46 percent in 2012 vs 47 percent in 2011) were alcohol-related.
As of June 24, there have been 44 traffic fatalities in Delaware, with alcohol being considered a factor in a third of those cases.
Read the latest Delaware fatal crash summary on the Office of Highway Safety website at http://ohs.delaware.gov/information/fatal_crash_index.shtml.
Biden was joined at today's swearing-in ceremony by staff from the Delaware Office of Highway Safety, which coordinates Checkpoint Strikeforce, now in its 13th year.
The swearing-in conducted by the Attorney General provides the legal justification necessary to allow police officers to make DUI arrests outside their area of normal jurisdiction.
Learn more about Checkpoint Strikeforce at http://ohs.delaware.gov/CheckpointStrikeforce.