This unit works to increase enforcement of DWI laws and send a message to motorists who drink and drive.
In 2009, statistics from the Austin Police Department showed that 85% of the collisions that occurred between midnight and 2:59 a.m. involved drivers who were under the influence of alcohol. During that same time period over half of the fatal collisions involved drivers who were under the influence of alcohol. The Austin Police Department is committed to arresting and prosecuting those who choose to drink and drive.
To increase enforcement of DWI laws and send a message to motorists who drink and drive, APD launched the DWI Enforcement Team in August of 1998. The unit, which is under the direction of the Highway Enforcement Command, is comprised of 14 patrol officers, two corporals, two sergeants, and one lieutenant. As a dedicated DWI enforcement unit, the DWI Enforcement Team is able to concentrate its patrol efforts on apprehending drunk drivers.
The DWI Enforcement Team uses a Blood Alcohol Content Bus (BATBUS) four nights a week to expedite DWI arrests. All DWI arrests by APD officers are brought to the BATBUS and processed before being taken to the jail. The DWI Enforcement Team staffs the bus with an intoxilyzer operator who is able to test the arrested suspects for Blood Alcohol Content. Utilizing the BATBUS allows officers to return to their patrol duties much faster. The BATBUS also serves as a mobile public service announcement which reminds motorists that APD is aggressively enforcing DWI laws. The BATBUS is dedicated to Officer Drew Bolin and Officer Clinton Hunter, both of whom were killed in the line of duty by intoxicated drivers.
The Austin Police Department started a new initiative on Halloween 2008 called No Refusal Weekend. This initiative is designed to be a high profile reminder to all drivers that the odds of getting arrested and successfully prosecuted when driving while intoxicated go up drastically on No Refusal Weekends. During this initiative, when a suspected drunk driver refuses to submit to giving a sample of their breath or blood, a search warrant is written and presented to a judge asking for a sample of the suspect’s blood. No Refusal Weekends occur about six times a year.