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May 25, 2012 4:38 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

New East End DWI Task Force Nets Many Arrests Over Memorial Day Weekend

May 30, 2012 9:02 AM

A newly formed Suffolk County East End DWI Task Force deployed for the first time this weekend to clamp down on motorists driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol, netted 15 arrests, including 9 for DWI, and 47 traffic tickets, at a Southampton checkpoint over the Memorial Day holiday weekend.

More than a dozen law enforcement agencies teamed up and pooled resources to target areas with increased enforcement over the busy holiday, the first time that the task force was in action. At Southampton’s checkpoint, on Montauk Highway near the intersection with County Road 39A on Saturday night, 16 officers from Southampton Town Police, the Suffolk County sheriff’s office, Southampton Village Police, East Hampton Town Police, East Hampton Village Police and Quogue Village Police worked together from about 9 p.m. to midnight, making 9 DWI arrests, two arrests each for driving while ability impaired by drugs and driving while ability impaired by alcohol, one for third-degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, and one for unlawful possession of marijuana.

Two other East End DWI Task Force checkpoints were set up in Quogue Village and Riverhead Town, also on Saturday night, from about 8 p.m. to 4 a.m.

The task force is being funded by Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota’s office, as well as a statewide Special Traffic Options Program for Driving While Intoxicated-DWI, or STOP-DWI, program. Police officers were sworn in as special D.A.’s office investigators so that they could be authorized to work in jurisdictions outside their own, according to Robert Clifford, a spokesman for the D.A.’s office.

The task force will focus on the five East End towns and numerous villages not served by the Suffolk County Police Department.

“Local police departments in the five towns and villages don’t have the resources to focus solely on drunk and drugged drivers on holiday weekends,” Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas J. Spota is quoted as saying in a news release announcing the initiative. “This team strategy will augment local law enforcement and make the expansion of the enforcement action on the East End more mobile and responsive.

Police called the first weekend’s effort productive.

“It operated extremely efficiently,” Southampton Town Police Chief William Wilson Jr. said. “All the members of the different agencies worked well together.”

Participating police agencies include East Hampton Town, East Hampton Village, New York State Troopers, Sag Harbor Village, Southampton Village, Southampton Town, Westhampton Beach Village, Quogue Village, Riverhead Town, Shelter Island Town, the Suffolk County Parks Police, the Suffolk County sheriff’s office and Suffolk County Police.

Last year over Memorial Day weekend, Southampton Town Police, Southampton Village Police and the Suffolk County sheriff’s office coordinated a safety checkpoint in Southampton that netted 10 arrests, for charges including DWI and felony weapon possession, in about four hours.

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oh, good... more cops.
By milkdilk (49), Southampton on May 25, 12 6:53 PM
4 members liked this comment
oh, good....less drunks
By Jac-man (22), Southampton on May 25, 12 7:34 PM
Thank you DA Spota. This is a great cost effective way to save lives.
By nellie (451), sag harbor on May 25, 12 9:20 PM
Pleaseeee the limits are to low ...give it a rest, let the people live a little. I am not saying you should be swerving all over the road but enough of this check point Charlie crap.and if your going to play Gestapo then go all the way and check for legal citizenship "papers please". oh noo cant do that! not P.C. Now go ahead and censor my opinion SHP...I am used to it.
By joe hampton (3461), south hampton on May 25, 12 9:42 PM
2 members liked this comment
Good. The authority of numbers will help the veteran cops in the task force to convince the newly-minted cops therein that busting motorists for drunk driving who aren't driving drunk is absolutely okay, and that any guilt that they feel is unwarranted. After all, if the law says that someone who scores .08 on the breathalyzer is a drunk driver even if he is perfectly coordinated and rational, that's just the way it is. If you don't like the law, you should move to Russia.

Have to be ...more
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on May 26, 12 12:48 AM
You're way off base HHS. Do you know how these roadblocks work? You have to be exhibiting symptoms of being intoxicated in order for them to request a breath test - which means that they have probable cause. Some people may be "fine" at .08 but those people wouldn't be subject to scrutiny by the police due to the very fact that they are "fine".

You make it seem like the police stop everyone, make them blow and if they are .08 or higher they haul them off to jail. Not for nothin', ...more
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on May 29, 12 9:23 AM
It used to be .10 they changed the law years ago. I hope they bagged quite a few. The streets are very dangerous
By TianaBob (256), S.Jamesport on May 29, 12 11:18 AM
I've been through check points on the east end and out west in Nassau county, they stop you ask you where you are coming from and where you are going. It gives them an opportunity to observe your behavior, if you are (fine) you move on. They don't even ask for ID or anything. If they can smell booze, or you show signs of being intoxicated you are flagged to the side and tested. I have never been flagged to the side but then I do not drink and drive. Now, I wonder what the comments would be if this ...more
By pstevens (406), Wilmington on May 29, 12 4:44 PM
Its a great idea. They should take a taxi or have a designated driver instead of trying to make it home and killing someone.
By North Sea Citizen (568), North Sea on May 26, 12 6:23 AM
1 member liked this comment
Too bad the local Judges will just give anyone arrested a slap on the wrist. What a waste.
By G (342), Southampton on May 26, 12 7:48 AM
Do they shred documents in the BAT TRUCK?
By milkdilk (49), Southampton on May 26, 12 8:18 AM
1 member liked this comment
please park that van on sound ave in riverhead westbound on any late sunday .theres alot of wine sampling to be had.
By baymen (26), hamptonbays on May 26, 12 6:51 PM
1 member liked this comment
Absolutely...driving on Sound Ave, Friday-Sunday..is taking a risk, with the farm stands alone..now dealing with the wine sampling, it's the Ave to avoid from Happy Hour on...that van will do very well hanging out by the grapes....
By lhasabon (8), Wading River on May 28, 12 8:36 AM
Yes. That is a good point. People get trashed at these tastings. Somehow, wine tasting is sometimes viewed as a fancy or responsible way to drink. Besides, it is even advertised with taxpayer funded road signs that lead us to the "wine trail. "
By Lets go mets (377), Southampton on May 26, 12 7:58 PM
On my way to my humbel abode on Dune Road I was delighted to see the large presence of Southamptons Finest sittings in no less the 3 cars across from Neptunes and they ALL looked like CLEAN cops,I felt safe passing this Palace of Pleasure.
By Etians rd (543), Southampton on May 28, 12 10:29 AM
They ought to set up on First Neck Lane during cocktail hour. They'd net dozens.
By goldenrod (505), southampton on May 29, 12 12:00 PM
Anyone else ever notice that drunk drivers always survive with just "minor injuries," while the person in the other car is seriously injured or even killed? There really is no justice in this world....
By Tay (35), Hampton Bays on May 29, 12 12:51 PM
Alcohol relaxes the body. The effects of an accident are minimized since the drunk will 'roll' with the motion of a collision whereas as a sober (and frightened) person will tend to fight or tense up.
By **HBQueenBee** (46), Hampton Bays on May 30, 12 8:53 AM
maybe they could invest this money into either A) enforcing fair charges by the taxi companies making them affordable ($120 from southampton to eastport is a joke) or B) investing in a 24 hr a day public transportation system to keep our roads safer,,,, but hey there is no profit to be made in keeping drunk drivers off the street. so we will just keep paying for check points
By cabin fever (9), Hampton Bays on May 30, 12 11:52 AM
1 member liked this comment
They are going to have to save every penny to pay for the lawsuits the drug dealers are going to file and we're going to pay for.
By TianaBob (256), S.Jamesport on Jun 1, 12 1:35 PM
Who checks the police?
By Bandguy (23), Sag Harbor on May 30, 12 8:29 PM
1 member liked this comment
Quis custodiet, ipsos custodes?
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Jun 4, 12 8:25 PM
To The Batmobile!
By lucy2 (63), Southampton, NY on Jun 8, 12 5:15 PM