DWI checkpoints planned for Thanksgiving weekend in Jersey City

DWI checkpoints planned for Thanksgiving weekend in Jersey City
APD orders DWI unit to take Thanksgiving holiday off
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The Albuquerque Police Department won't be using every resource at its disposal to go after drunk drivers over the long holiday weekend like it usually does. 

While most departments, including New Mexico State Police, are ramping up saturation patrols with their DWI units, KRQE News 13 has learned APD is forcing its DWI unit to sit on the sidelines for a couple of nights.

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According to State Police Chief Pete Kassetas, NMSP is canceling all other overtime in the metro area this Thanksgiving weekend and focusing on traffic safety, to include DWI patrols.

"The goal is to drive down alcohol-related crashes and injury crashes," Chief Kassetas said. "As a mechanism to do that you have to have officers out on the streets, especially during these holiday hours."

So for the next four nights, the chief said there will be six to eight state officers just in the Albuquerque metro area dedicated to keeping drunk drivers off the streets.

Bernalillo County's DWI unit will also work saturation patrols throughout the holiday weekend. However, that's not the case with APD's DWI unit. 

The APD unit will be conducting a checkpoint Wednesday night, but then the entire unit will be off for the following two days.

"They're not working Thursday or Friday," Officer Simon Drobik said. "We're going to rely on the field services to take care for those calls."

"We're throwing all of our resources at it Wednesday night because we seem to see that that's the biggest party night," Officer Drobik said. 

However, last year the APD unit worked all four days where police said officers racked up nearly two dozen DWI arrests. So, what changed?

"Our DWI grants are running dry and they will be up for review pretty soon and we'll get that money back," Officer Drobik said. "But specifically it will all be thrown at Wednesday because it's a big party night."

By forcing APD officers to take the holiday off, the department will save in overtime costs. Officers will still be allowed to work what's called "chief's overtime," working security that private businesses pay for. 

JERSEY CITY — Jersey City police will implement DWI checkpoints and roving patrols during Thanksgiving weekend with the hope of stemming the spike in DWI-related deaths that occur around the holidays, officials said.

“We encourage anyone planning on drinking this Thanksgiving weekend, or any time for that matter, to be responsible and designate either a sober driver, arrange for an Uber ride, or use the transit system,” Police Chief Michael Kelly said.

The chief said the sobriety checkpoints and roving patrols will be implemented throughout the upcoming holidays.

“So, chances are if you are impaired, you will be caught and arrested,” Kelly said, adding that “friends dont let friends drive drunk.”

Some 40 of traffic-related deaths during the holidays are the result of drunken driving, compared to 28 percent during the rest of the year, Jersey City spokeswoman Ashley Manz said, based on a national study.

The number of people who die as a result of alcohol-related crashes doubles doubles between Thanksgiving and Christmas, Manz said.

Posted in Jersey City