Troopers Go on the Offensive

The Washington State Patrol has been doing things a little differently this past week, opting to go beyond waiting for suspected drunks to drive past them on the highway — and instead greeting them door to door.

Two Bremerton men so far have been picked up at their homes — at all hours of the day — for having warrants for driving under the influence.

There does seem to be something unique about this effort. For one, state troopers assigned to the roads normally stick to them, and leave “warrants sweeps,” to county sheriffs and city cops. Another is that while law enforcement does go looking for felony warrant suspects frequently, those with gross misdemeanor warrants such as DUI more often go under the radar.

(There is the new felony DUI statute, but once charged with said crime, bail amounts tend to be pretty steep, and they remain in custody at a jail through the proceeding.)

But after seeing a spike in DUI-related collisions, the state patrol is acknowledging that A) Kitsap needs beefed up patrols, and B) if those with DUI warrants aren’t showing up for their court appearances, they may get behind the wheel once more — and possibly intoxicated.

As Trooper Krista Hedstrom put it in our story Tuesday:

“The Washington State Patrol encourages those with outstanding warrants to contact the courts where they can be held accountable by the criminal justice system,” Trooper Krista Hedstrom said in a press release, “Or run the risk of arrest during future warrant sweeps.”

What do you think of the state’s efforts?

6 thoughts on “Troopers Go on the Offensive

  1. A not so funny thing happened to me last tuesday morning.I trailed a drunk from east Bremerton Safeway all the way down to burger king. During that time I called 911, and gave them vital information as to his whereabouts, license plate number,and so on.I was told simply to hang up.After he hit a curb, turned into burger king, and almost killed two pedestrians, I called again.I was told to hang up again.I wonder what the response would be if I had uttered the magic words”Officer down”

  2. Josh,

    I think this is a great idea and Kudos for WSP for policing pro-actively. Drunk driving is a horrendous crime that adversely impacts innocent people and families. The more impaired drivers we put and keep in jail/prison the safer we all are. Good article!

    Bill Minks

  3. At least they are doing something about it. For the State Patrol to acknowledge and follow through, that’s great.

    Thanks guys.

  4. Mr. Walsh,

    Great job calling 911 to report a suspected impaired driver, all citizens should be as diligent as you at reporting people like this on the roadways. I’d caution you to hold off on your implication that your call was simply blown off by either the dispatchers or police officers. The bottom line is that there are only so many officers/troopers/deputies on the street and if one isn’t in the immediate area of your call then there is not much more that you, or they, can do. It isn’t the sort of situation that would be reasonable for an officer to speed across town with lights flashing and sirens blaring. I think that the amount of DUI offenders arrested in our county on an annual basis demonstrates that it is a crime taken seriously by law enforcement officers. The bottom line is that you just can’t catch them all.

    As for as your statement “I wonder what the response would be if I had uttered the magic words officer down”, well that is just plain ludicrous. Perhaps the officer whose patrol area you were driving through was unable to respond because he or she already had a drunk driver in custody, or was tied up on a higher priority event, or just couldn’t get there in time to catch the person… need to sling mud.

  5. For what I pay in property taxes alone, if I call only once it should be handled professionally.

    What is “ludicrous”? The idea that a tax paying citizen cannot report activity.

    If the event went down as Pete has asserted, there are some people who need to be in a different line of work.

    As for how smart law enforcement is, well you know where the cops will be on paydays with speed traps.

    As for a solution, I would argue for a three DUI’s and your done. No more driving. One is bad enough.

    Don’t get me wrong, I believe that there hard working people here. But in any organization there is always a possibility for something to go bad. Which is why I believe Pete made the comments he made.

  6. State’s efforts not strong enough.

    567 to 712 annual deaths from traffic collisions tell me state’s efforts are not strong enough. It’s been that way since 1993.

    Without what’s been done, going on the offensive, I see the death toll and number of disabling injuries would have been higher.

    Essentially, we’ve been treading water, runnning in place since 1993.

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