DUI Strike Force to crack down during the holiday season

LVMPD, NHPSouthernComm, and the Nevada Office of Traffic Safety held a press conference today reference the dedicated DUI strike team. (LVMPD Traffic Bureau)

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, Nevada Highway Patrol, and the Nevada Office of Traffic Safety came together Wednesday to announce Nevada’s first ever multi-agency, full-time DUI enforcement team.

The goal of the group, made up of seven Las Vegas police officers and NHP troopers, is to reduce the number of deaths caused by impaired drivers.

Working together, the strike team is tasked specifically with cracking down on DUIs.

"DUIs costs about 15-grand, all said and done. That Lyft ride or that Uber ride or that taxi ride is gonna be a lot cheaper,” said Andrew Bennett with the Nevada Office of Traffic Safety.

Bennett says each morning he's tasked with reading a deadly crash report from the night before.

“Recently, 300 Nevadans experienced what it was like to have an empty seat at their Thanksgiving table. Our goal is to make sure that there are no empty seats, no unwrapped gifts at Christmas. To simply make sure everyone arrives back home safely,” he said.

NHP reports 2017 brought more than 300 deadly crashes to Nevada roads, with more than a third of those connected to impaired drivers. So far this year, 300 more.

“Over 600 lives that were needlessly lost in the last two years, representing all walks of life, male and female, young and old, from every demographic you can think of,” said Lt. Col. Daniel Solow with NHP.

To combat these numbers, LVMPD and NHP are forming this strike team.

Some of the seven officers and troopers on the team will work from a mobile processing unit, setting up a one-stop shop for DUI processing from breath tests to blood tests and even a holding area for up to four people. The side of the van also hosts hash marks, each symbolizing an arrest made by the task force.

“Right now, we have 175 DUI arrests,” said Lt. Greg Munson, with Las Vegas Metro Police Department.

Of those arrests, 121 came in their first month of work alone.

“You will get caught if you drive impaired, plain and simple,” said Bennett.

In addition to the van, members the task force will also be out patrolling in discreetly-marked vehicles.

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