More than two dozen law enforcement officers will be patrolling the streets of Fircrest and University Place Saturday, July 12 looking for drivers who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Drivers who are speeding, weaving, making aggressive lane changes or committing
other traffic infractions will be stopped.
The task force sponsors the multi-agency patrols that removes an average of 25 impaired drivers monthly from Pierce County roadways. “Many drivers think that they can fool officers about their level of impairment,” said Chief Mike Mitchell, chair of the Tacoma-Pierce County DUI Task Force. “But they are fooling themselves.”
Officers use sobriety tests, including those which check the eyes for the involuntary jerking associated with over-the-limit drinking, if they suspect a driver is impaired. “Combined with a walk and turn and a one-leg stand, the eye test is 85 percent effective in determining impairment,” Mitchell said.
Extra dispatchers will be working to cover the increased activity in University Place and Fircrest beginning at 8 p.m. Citizens are encouraged to call 911 to report exaggerated or unusual driving.
Dubbed X-52 for the 52-weeks-a-year campaign, the patrols are funded statewide by the Washington Traffic Safety Commission. An $84,500 grant was awarded to the task force in February to put nearly twice the number of officers on the road to enforce impaired driving and speeding laws.
More than a dozen agencies will be participating, including the Washington Liquor Control Board, which will check local bars, taverns and retail stores for compliance with liquor laws.