A new East End DWI Task Force announced by Suffolk County District Tom Spota has netted 125 arrests so far this summer, and counting.
As of Aug. 18, there have been 125 arrests by the East End DWI Task Force, as reported by local police agencies. Spota reminded that each individual jurisdiction still makes other arrests for driving while intoxicated as the result of standard patrol; those numbers are not included in the tally of East End DWI Task Force arrests.
Spota's office confirmed that as of Aug. 17, 108 DWI arrests had been made, and in East Hampton this weekend, . Numbers from this weekend were not immediately available from other East End police districts.
A breakdown indicates that, as of July 21, there were 32 DWI alcohol and drug-related arrests, with eight specifically in Riverhead.
According to a report dated July 4, police made 26 DWI alcohol and drug-related arrests, with the specific number that took place in Riverhead unknown.
As of June 26, there were 26 DWI alcohol and drug-related arrests across the East End, with eight specifically in Riverhead.
And, on May 26, the task force made 24 DWI alcohol and drug-related arrests, with five DWI alcohol and drug-related arrests specifically in Riverhead.
The multi-agency effort, similar to the East End Drug Task Force, was organized to driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
The initiative is dubbed Operation NiteCAP and employs a team approach to protect residents and visitors from those who are driving under the influence.
Outlining the task force in May, Spota said 17 additional patrol cars would be out on the roads, traveling to East End towns. On a given weekend, Spota said, Southold residents might see patrol cars from East Quogue or Southampton Town; and vice versa. The cars come from various agencies, including two state police cars, and cars from the sheriff's office, to total 17.
In addition, the "BAT Mobile," a mobile unit that allows officers to administer breath alcohol testing on the spot, as well as to arrest and process defendants, has been set up at "saturation" patrol check points. The unit even includes a cell for up to four prisoners.
Spota said there has been a "surge" of DWI arrests countywide, with approximately 1,200 logged last year. Countywide, 699 blood tests came back positive for driving while intoxicated last year, Spota said. "That's an astounding number," he said, adding that the numbers of people arrested for driving while drinking or using drugs are higher than ever before.
The goal, he added, is to team up to tackle the escalating problem, using a multi-jurisdictional approach.
The task force will remain in effect through the end of the summer season.