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  • Catching Drunk Drivers?

    I'm sorry if this has been posted elsewhere, I did a search and could not find the info I was looking for. My main question is, how do you find and catch drunk drivers that are called in through 911 from the road? I was almost hit on an interstate a few days ago by someone weaving back and forth lane to lane, and driving in the middle of the 2 lanes (over the dividing lines) and called them in through 911 as it's posted to do on our interstates/highways, and I was just wondering how do you dispatch a LEO to them and how often are they caught, etc.? Also, on a separate sidenote, I see alot of cops are divided on using MagLites and Surefire flashlights while on duty. What are your opinions and preferences for them? Thank you!

  • #2
    It's usually a case of someone being at the right place at the right time, especially if you're in a large rural county with few law enforcement officers. Unfortunately, there are many times where we're just not able to get there, even if someone is following.

    As far as flashlights, we're all issued streamlights at my department, though some people also buy their own. I bought my own streamlight (before I became a cop, still use it 3 years later), and use the issued one as a backup.

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    • #3
      DUIs are given out on the radio as a "general dispatch" to anyone who might be in the area. Get the license plate! Then if we are in the area, we will find a reason to stop the car and investigate if it's DUI. Please do not follow the vehicle.

      I think the maglites are not bright enough and the surefires are too small and expensive. I use a pelican 7060.

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      • #4
        I've always been partial to Streamlights

        +1 to the responses re D.U.I.
        Today's Quote:

        "The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits."
        Albert Einstein

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        • #5
          Originally posted by flydream777 View Post
          DUIs are given out on the radio as a "general dispatch" to anyone who might be in the area. Get the license plate! Then if we are in the area, we will find a reason to stop the car and investigate if it's DUI. Please do not follow the vehicle.

          I think the maglites are not bright enough and the surefires are too small and expensive. I use a pelican 7060.
          Things must be different out there. Here, if no one is following then I'll clear the call then head to the area to look for the vehicle (as well as any other vehicles that may need attention). If someone is following it helps tremendously. Not only can I continue to get an updated location while I'm en route, but I can also get a witness statement from the caller. What we tell people is follow from a safe distance for as long as is safe. In other words, don't go 100 to keep up with them, and don't follow them if they drive the wrong way on a one way road. Basically... use common sense.

          When you call, ask dispatch rather or not you should follow if you're willing to do so. If you are following, don't get upset if the officer gets behind the vehicle for a while, sees nothing, then turns off. Although there are instances where we can stop a car based solely on a witness statement, we usually can't (this varies by location). Not only that, but I'd say of the 911 calls regarding possibly impaired drivers, most that I stop aren't impaired. They're usually talking on the cell phone, or playing with the radio, or something like that. With that said, many of my DUI arrests have come from concerned citizens, and even if they're not DUI I usually call the caller back, explain to them what happened (tired, cell phone, just a good ol' horrible driver, whatever), thank them for their concern, and ask them to call again any time they believe they see an impaired driver.

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          • #6
            Thank you all for your input on this. I've been hit by drunk drivers in the past, so I never hesitate to call one in since I value others' lives on the road as much as my own, however I don't end up calling in unless they are seriously jeopardizing other drivers and myself on the road. I also fall back a few car lengths so that I'm not in danger myself, but can still read the plate off to the dispatcher. I just didn't know if a certain LEO would be dispatched to search for that person or a generic dispatch to whoever in the area would be able to take it. As far as your flashlight responses, I'll definitely take a look at the different ones you guys listed. My LED maglite has served me well ever since I bought it as a great light and for self-defense on night walks (if need be...I have the 'extended-handle' one, and I assume it would rival a baton if I ever had to use it).

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            • #7
              Streamlight! There is no other light!
              http://www.truepolicestories.net - my website of all my stories as a police officer. Please read it and become a member!

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              • #8
                Originally posted by StudChris View Post
                Things must be different out there. Here, if no one is following then I'll clear the call then head to the area to look for the vehicle (as well as any other vehicles that may need attention). If someone is following it helps tremendously. Not only can I continue to get an updated location while I'm en route, but I can also get a witness statement from the caller. What we tell people is follow from a safe distance for as long as is safe. In other words, don't go 100 to keep up with them, and don't follow them if they drive the wrong way on a one way road. Basically... use common sense.

                When you call, ask dispatch rather or not you should follow if you're willing to do so. If you are following, don't get upset if the officer gets behind the vehicle for a while, sees nothing, then turns off. Although there are instances where we can stop a car based solely on a witness statement, we usually can't (this varies by location). Not only that, but I'd say of the 911 calls regarding possibly impaired drivers, most that I stop aren't impaired. They're usually talking on the cell phone, or playing with the radio, or something like that. With that said, many of my DUI arrests have come from concerned citizens, and even if they're not DUI I usually call the caller back, explain to them what happened (tired, cell phone, just a good ol' horrible driver, whatever), thank them for their concern, and ask them to call again any time they believe they see an impaired driver.
                That's the way we are here because if not its like finding a needle in a haystack. Safely follow the vehicle, let us get in behind it to see if we can develpoe our own rs/pc for the stop and we'll take it from there. If they're truly intoxicated a reason to stop the vehicle will be easy to find.
                Strong Body, Sharp Mind And Good Tactics!

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                • #9
                  we have both flashlights...the little on our belt and the larger one in our bag. Both can be used as a defensive weapon if needed.

                  When people call in DUIs, we go to the area....so please stay behind the DUI until we get in the area. It does no good for someone to call in a DUI then hang up....a lot of things can happen in the minutes it will take to get to the area where the DUI WAS.
                  "I don't go on "I'maworthlesscumdumpster.com" and post negative **** about cum dumpsters."
                  The Tick

                  "Are you referring to the secret headquarters of a fictional crime fighter or penal complex slang for a-$$hole, anus or rectum?"
                  sanitizer

                  "and we all know you are a poser and a p*ssy.... "
                  Bearcat357 to Dinner Portion/buck8/long relief

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                  • #10
                    Please, call EVERY time! I appreciated it while I was on General Duties, and now that I am on Traffic Services, that's my life and focus. I always try to call the complainant to check whether or not they can still see the "client", any further details of same, as well as details of my complainant's vehicle, so I can locate all players ASAP. I will also call the complainant back to update them as to whether or not I was able to deal with this call, the outcome if found, as well as double-check how their experience was in contacting us, and give them tips on making calls in the future.

                    Mag-lite? The standard incandescent models are too low a lumens output to be of any use other than as a defensive-impact-weapon-of-opportunity, while the MagLED up-grades are an improvement. The 3 D Mag can be VASTLY improved with a TLE-300M and MagCharger-sized NiMH stick; the 2 D with that module running on 6 AA alkaline primaries in an adaptor was my primary light 20:00 - 06:00 last night.

                    Surefire? Not a big fan - seen and handled an 8NP another PS issues their members, and wasn't impressed. I have an old-style Pila GL3 incandescent as my always-on-the-duty-belt light, and may yet replace it with a Wolf-Eyes M90 with 3 stage LED module - if I can figure out why mine failed!
                    #32936 - Royal Canadian Mounted Police - 1975-10-27 / 2010-12-29
                    Proud Dad of #54266 - RCMP - 2007-02-12 to date
                    RCMP Veterans Association - Regina Division member
                    Mounted Police Professional Association of Canada - Associate (Retired) member
                    "Smile" - no!

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                    • #11
                      DUI's are easy to spot, Just look for the jerk***** that has no lights and is driving toward me in my lane.

                      We call them ready reports when a citizen calls in a complaint. Just need a color and a type e.g SUV, Truck, and a license number.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by flydream777 View Post
                        I think the maglites are not bright enough and the surefires are too small and expensive. I use a pelican 7060.
                        +1. I used to be a huge Streamlight fan, but since getting my Pelican 7060 last year, I've changed my mind. The Pelican light is FANTASTIC.

                        I also carry a Surefire 6P as a backup light but would not use it as a primary. Its there only to keep me going should I run the battery dry on the Pelican.
                        Originally posted by kontemplerande
                        Without Germany, you would not have won World War 2.

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                        • #13
                          Here we prefer that you stay behind the vehicle as long as you safely can and give dispatch updated information. All we need to stop the vehicle in question is a description (Plate # is great) and a description as to what happened that causes you to believe they are impaired. With that information we can make a stop and investigate, even if the complainant is not still around or unwilling to file a statement.

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                          • #14
                            Stay behind them please, but be safe! If they are driving in a manor that endangers the public as long as you stay behind them give dispatch updates on location I can run code to you and ultimately stop that driver before somebody gets hurt.
                            I enjoy life on the dirtroad

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                            • #15
                              The reason I said please do NOT follow the vehicle is because the patrol ofcs are often tied up on other calls (although this summer has been extremely slow!!). If the caller is following the DUI car, there may not be ofcs to respond at that moment, let alone keep track of the car's every movement and try to find it. It may also put you at an unnecessary risk.

                              On midnight shift there are several cars that ONLY look for DUIs... I dont know what the dispatchers tell people on the phone, but as a general rule I tell people 'please dont follow'...
                              Last edited by flydream777; 09-21-2009, 02:30 AM. Reason: added smthg

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