Police Ride Along3_11-25-15

Montgomery County Police Holiday Alcohol Task Force Targets Drunk Drivers (PHOTOS)

Police Presser_11-25-15For Montgomery County police, the holiday season is a time to be extra vigilant when it comes to drunk drivers.

That’s why there is a special task force in place.

The Montgomery County Police Alcohol Holiday Task Force is made up of multiple departments including, officers from the Alcohol Initiatives Section, patrol officers from six police districts, and officers from the Gaithersburg Police Department, the Maryland National Capital Park Police Department (Montgomery County Division), and Maryland State Police.

At a news conference, held by the task force on Nov. 25th, Captain Tom Didone, director of  the  Montgomery County Police Department Traffic Division, said “the night before Thanksgiving is the number one underage drinking day of the year.”

On this particular night, the task force deployed nearly 40 officers to target underage drinking and drunk driving.

Following the news conference, members of the media went on ride alongs with  task force officers.

MyMCMedia had a chance to ride along with Officer Gregory Walker.

“Working as a midnight officer we see a lot of impaired drivers, we see a lot of people who get in a vehicle and think that they can drive home,” Officer Walker said. “I want to be the first step in the process that prevents them from getting inside the vehicle and hurting somebody else,” he said.

The task force is also focusing on distracted driving and speeding, the primary causes for collisions. 34 people have died due to fatal collisions so far this year.

“With all those agencies working together, in the one week we’ve been working we’ve made 40 DUI arrests,” Sgt. S.A. Flynn, of the Montgomery County Police Department Alcohol Enforcement Unit, said.

Sgt. Flynn also said that on average about 300 DUI arrests are made over the eight-week task force.

Polcie Ride Along2_11-25-15Officers say that the best way to prevent drunk driving incidents is planning and having a designated driver. “If you know you’re going out and drinking have a plan,” Captain Didone said. “Stay wherever you’re going or have a designated driver. Now, a designated driver is not someone who drinks the least, it’s someone who doesn’t drink at all,” he said.

The task force began on Nov. 15, 2015 and will continue to January 9, 2016.

The Montgomery County Police Department also released  the following ways residents can help with combatting alcohol related accidents and crime:

If you plan on celebrating with alcohol this holiday season, include a sober driver in your plans:

  • If you will be drinking, do not plan on driving. Plan ahead; designate a sober driver before the party begins.
  • When you know you’ll be drinking, leave your keys at home or give them to someone else.
  • If you have been drinking, do not drive—even a short distance. Call a taxi, Uber, phone a sober friend or family member, use public transportation or call SoberRide at 1.800.200.TAXI (The free program is offered nightly from December 11, 2015 to January 1, 2016).

If you believe you are observing a driver impaired by alcohol or drugs:

  • Call 911.  If possible, and without putting yourself in danger, obtain the license plate of the vehicle, the direction of travel of the vehicle, and a description of the vehicle (make, model, color).

If you have information on establishments that are selling alcohol to minors:

  • If it is occurring at the present time, you can call the police non-emergency number at 301.279.8000.
  • If you believe it is an ongoing issue, you can call Crime Solvers toll-free at 1.866.411.TIPS (8477) or leave a Crime Solvers tip here. You can remain anonymous. Please provide as much information as possible.  The tip will be forwarded to the Alcohol Initiatives Section.

If you have information on an underage drinking party:

  • If it is occurring at the present time, you can call the police non-emergency number at 301.279.8000.
  • If you have knowledge of a party planned for a future date, you can call the Alcohol Initiatives Section at 240.773.6610.  You can leave a message and remain anonymous.  You can also call Crime Solvers toll-free at 1.866.411.TIPS (8477).  Please provide as much information as possible.

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Montgomery County Police Holiday Alcohol Task Force Targets Drunk Drivers (PHOTOS)

Police Ride Along3_11-25-15

For Montgomery County police, the holiday season is a time to be extra vigilant when it comes to drunk drivers. That’s why there is a special task force in place. The Montgomery County Police Alcohol Holiday Task Force is made up of multiple departments including, officers from the Alcohol Initiatives Section, patrol officers from six […]

Read more

County Public Safety Chiefs Promote Holiday Safety (VIDEO)

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Montgomery County Police Chief Tom Manger and Fire Chief Scott Goldstein held a news conference at the Public Safety Headquarters in Gaithersburg to highlight pedestrian safety during the holidays. You can watch the conference in its entirety here: According to Chief Manger, “The fourth quarter of the year, which includes the holiday season, is one of the […]

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Maureen Chowdhury

About Maureen Chowdhury

Maureen Chowdhury is a multimedia journalist with Montgomery Community Media. She can be reached at mchowdhury@mymcmedia.org and on Twitter at @MediaMaureen. Maureen authors the blog Sound Check on MyMCMedia.

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