Joseph County DUI Task Force Awarded Best In State
3rd, 2007 by YONIKA WILLIS Tribune Staff Writer
MISHAWAKA -- Mishawaka Police Lt. Tim Williams tells officers in St. Joseph County's
DUI Taskforce that their work is about saving lives. The task force is comprised
of officers from Mishawaka, South Bend, St. Joseph County, Notre Dame and Walkerton
Williams, commander of the task force, encourages
the officers to meet more than just the minimum requirements for the state. That
approach has decreased the number of alcohol-related fatalities by about 91 percent
in the past three years.
And it's that approach that has earned the task
force the Best in State Award from the Indiana Governor's Council on Impaired
and Dangerous Driving out of 32 counties with task forces throughout Indiana.
Joseph County DUI Task Force: From Left: SBPD Sgt Gene Eyster, SBPD Sgt Steve
Goen. Governor Mitch Daniels, MPD Lt. Tim Williams, SBPD Cpl Edward Koczan, WPD
Chief Gary Laird, SBPD Ptlm. Jason Biggs, MPD Chief Witkowski, ICJI Coordinator
Lance Grubbs, SJCPD Sgt Regis Thimons
of the things that I think made them successful is that there is a Fatal Alcohol
Crash Team and if someone drinks and drives they will be prosecuted," said Lance
Grubbs, law enforcement liaison for the northeast region for the Governor's Council.
task force was judged on the number of drunken and impaired driving arrests, the
number of hours worked, the visibility of officers, the cooperation with media
and the number of sobriety checkpoints they had, Grubbs said.
In St. Joseph
County alcohol-related fatalities are down, Grubbs said.
the past three years alcohol-related fatalities fell from 22 to two, Williams
said. Unfortunately, he added, two alcohol-related deaths occurred this past week.
This is the second year in a row the task force has been awarded; last
year it was voted second in the state, Grubbs said. "We're encouraging drivers
to make responsible decisions," Williams said. "We want the tragedies not to occur
in our community."