APD launched the DWI Enforcement Team in August of 1998. The unit, which is under the direction of the Highway Enforcement Command, is comprised of 14 patrol officers, two corporals, two sergeants, and one lieutenant. As a dedicated DWI enforcement unit, the DWI Enforcement Team is able to concentrate its patrol efforts on arresting drinking drivers.
Between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m., if a patrol officer stops a driver who has been drinking, they will call for a DWI Enforcement Officer to complete the arrest. These officers have more training than the average patrol officer and testify in court more frequently.
After working all night, it is not uncommon for them to spend all day in court, so they don’t get much sleep. Accordingly, there is a fairly high turnover. The upside for DWI Enforcement Officers is that they can earn twice as much as regular officers because of all of their overtime. This creates a financial incentive for them to make arrests (the more arrests they make, the more court overtime they get paid for).
The DWI Enforcement Team uses a Blood Alcohol Content Bus (BATBUS) four nights a week to expedite DWI arrests. All DWI arrests by APD officers are brought to the BATBUS and processed before being taken to the jail. The DWI Enforcement Team staffs the bus with an intoxilyzer operator who is able to test the arrested suspects for Blood Alcohol Content. Utilizing the BATBUS allows officers to return to their patrol duties much faster. The BATBUS also serves as a mobile public service announcement which reminds motorists that APD is aggressively enforcing DWI laws.