The Huntsville Police Department conducted a task force operation last week to investigate individuals believed to be under the influence of alcohol and operating a motor vehicle.
The operation was conducted in conjunction with the Walker County district attorney’s office, the Department of Public Safety, the Texas Alcohol and Beverage Commission and other local law enforcement agencies.
“The task force began at approximately 9 p.m. and ended at approximately 3 a.m.,” said HPD Officer Eric Scott, lead organizer of the operation. “In the five hour span, there were approximately 300 traffic stops that resulted in six DWI arrests and four DUI citations.”
Representatives from HPD announced the beginning of the series of task force operations at a press conference held on Aug. 20.
“During the operations, attorneys with the district attorney’s office will be available to confer with the officers to determine if a search warrant is appropriate should the suspected violator refuse to provide a specimen of their breath,” Police Chief Jean Sanders said at the conference. “If a search warrant is issued, the violator will be taken to the ER or alternate location to have their blood drawn and submitted for analysis.”
Of the six arrests made during the first task force operation, Scott said three provided breath specimens, one provided a voluntary blood specimen and two refused to provide specimens, resulting in blood search warrants.
The group of representatives from the Walker county district attorney’s office included Walker County Criminal District Attorney David Weeks and four other members.
They enlisted the help of County Court-at-Law Judge Barbara Hale for the operation to be successful.
“Most of the cases will be tried in her court, so she agreed to make herself available to grant search warrants when probable cause was presented,” Weeks said. “We can’t connect these resources on a regular basis, but this won’t be the last time we do this. We just won’t announce it again.”
Scott said the task force went very well and will be utilized several times throughout the year.
“It appears that the community took our efforts very seriously due to the low number of intoxicated drivers that were located,” he said. “The best DWI task force would be one that resulted in no DWI arrests. Walker County was not at zero, but was not far from it.”
Scott said the mission behind the task force was to promote public safety, not to arrest the maximum number of intoxicated drivers.
“We’re not just out for the college kids. I know it may seem like that since we’re doing this right when school’s starting,” he said. “At the beginning of the semester, the number of people on the road has doubled, and our concern is for the welfare of the entire community.”
For more information, contact HPD at (936) 291-5480.