The Dallas Police Department’s DWI squad historically consisted of 10 or more officers who made the bulk of the city’s DWI arrests. Under our current police chief, however, that number has decreased in size to only one officer, resulting in a 50% drop in DWI arrests for the entire department – from 3,491 in 2009 to 1,598 in 2015. In 2014, Texas led the country in drunk-driving deaths with over 1,400 fatalities.
“It’s pretty shocking that a police department the size of Dallas would be down to one DWI officer,” stated Dallas County criminal attorney, Deandra Grant, in a News 8 article.
Dallas Police Association president Ron Pinkston held a meeting with representatives of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) earlier this month to address their concerns about the current situation. It appears both parties are startled about the lack of concern about DWI enforcement demonstrated by police.
Since Police Chief David Brown took over command in 2010, the size of the squad and the number of DWI arrests have been on a steady decline. In 2011, the DWI squad made more than 800 arrests. However, the number drastically fell to below 300 last year.
Attorney Grant first realized that DWI arrests weren’t a high priority for the Chief and his department when she noticed the shrinking of the DWI squad and started seeing unfamiliar names on the DWI police reports. She said that instead of facing seasoned DWI squad officers in court, she would find herself cross examining regular patrol officers who made more mistakes due to their lack of experience in DWI cases.
“There are very specific ways you have to administer those [field sobriety] tests on the roadside and often if officers aren’t doing it often, they forget what all the steps are and what the instructions are and how to even grade them,” Grant said. “If you’re not doing it every day, it’s easy to forget.”
For more information about DWIs in Texas, contact our Dallas County criminal attorney to schedule your free case evaluation today.