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Polk County Enterprise - Local News
Stories Added - June 2009
Copyright 2008 - Polk Count
y Publishing Company

County, DPS, game wardens step up drunk-driving efforts for Memorial Day weekend
Polk County Enterprise - June 2009
LIVINGSTON — Several state and local law enforcement agencies will team up this weekend for Polk County’s second “No Refusal Weekend” aimed at reducing the number of intoxicated drivers and boats on Lake Livingston and area roadways. Additional Department of Public Safety troopers will be assigned to work in Polk County with the specifi c objective of identifying potentially intoxicated drivers, according to Polk County District Attorney Lee Hon. Patrols by game wardens with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department will be beefed up on Lake Livingston as well. Agents from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission will be in the county to identify possible violations of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code, especially those related to the sale and on-premise consumption of alcoholic beverages. Offi cers with the Polk County Sheriff’s Offi ce, the Livingston Police Department and Onalaska Police Department who are certifi ed to administer fi eld sobriety tests will also be assigned to work peak hours throughout the holiday weekend. The “No Refusal Weekend” concept adds teeth to those enhanced efforts by law enforcement offi cers working to prevent tragic endings to weekend celebrations. Individuals arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated who refuse to voluntarily submit to a breath test to determine a blood alcohol concentration, will be required to provide a blood specimen pursuant to a search warrant issued by a judge. Over the Memorial Day weekend, prosecutors with the Polk County District Attorney’s Offi ce will be available at the Polk County jail to assist arresting offi cers in preparing a search warrant application, according to Hon. 258th District Judge Elizabeth Coker, 411th District Judge Robert Trapp and County Court at Law Judge Stephen Phillips have each agreed to be available throughout the weekend to rule on search warrant applications. Technicians from AmeriCare EMS and Lone Star EMS have volunteered to assist in obtaining blood specimens at the jail. In Texas, a driver with a blood alcohol level of .08 and above is presumed to be intoxicated, for purposes of operating a vehicle — either on public roadways or waterways. Counties who have implemented the No Refusal program over high traffi c weekends have reported the effort is extremely successful in removing intoxicated drivers from the road, Hon said. Conviction rates for DWI cases where a blood or breath specimen is obtained are nearly 95 percent, he added. The No Refusal Weekend over the Memorial Day Weekend in 2008 resulted in 19 arrests for driving while intoxicated or boating while intoxicated. Of those arrested, two were charged with felony DWI due to multiple prior convictions for DWI. “The statistic that we are most proud of from last year is that there were zero intoxication related crashes over the course of the 2008 Memorial Day weekend locally,” Hon said. “There were no wrecks, no injuries, and no fatalities on Polk County roadways over the course of that weekend.” “Ultimately, what this program is about is saving lives,” Hon said



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