Police to target Raleigh downtown for drunken drivers

September 12, 2013 3:32:43 PM PDT
Anyone considering having one too many and getting behind the wheel in downtown Raleigh will soon run an even greater risk of seeing the inside of a Raleigh Police Department squad car.

The department says at a checkpoint earlier this year there was a DWI arrest every nine minutes. It now has gotten a half million dollar grant to set up a special DWI enforcement squad.

Police say the unit will be used throughout the city, but significant attention will be focused on the downtown area.

Police believe the money will help keep the greater community safe. A downtown advocate group, however, feels there are wiser ways to invest money in a city that has a rapidly growing night scene.    

"We would like to see a lot more transit, so we have some options for people who don't wish to get back in their cars," offered Anne Franklin with Downtown Living Advocates.

Police say they hope their efforts will save lives.

"It's a reasonable expectation that as some patrons make the bad decision to drink and drive and leave bars and restaurants, we're going to be there to get them," said Lt. Tim Tomczak.

Five new positions will be created for the DWI squad. Police are hoping to start putting them on streets next month.

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