DUI safety awards to kick off holiday emphasis patrol

The Tacoma/Pierce County DUI Task Force and the Tacoma/Pierce County DUI Victims Panel will be hosting a DUI and Traffic Safety awards celebration Dec. 16 at 5:30 p.m. The event, to be held at Steilacoom Town Hall, will kick off the annual “Night of a 1,000 Stars” holiday emphasis patrol. The stars represent the more than one thousand badges worn by officers who are patrolling Washington’s roadways.

Twenty-two individuals, organizations and agencies will be honored at the holiday celebration that will conclude with a candlelight vigil and roll call of victims of crashes caused by drunk drivers. Awards will be given to nine law enforcement officers who have excelled this year in DUI arrests. Immediately following the ceremony, these same officers will be back out patrolling the Pierce County roadways.

Law enforcement is ramping up to rid the roads of drunk drivers over the Christmas season. Twelve police departments in Pierce County are participating in holiday DUI and traffic safety emphasis patrols that are running now through Jan. 2, with a special emphasis on the “Night of 1,000 Stars” – Dec. 16.

A $250,000 statewide advertising blitz is accompanying the holiday effort, with radio commercials featuring the voices of local police chiefs, sheriffs, and State Patrol captains.

In 2003, there were 43,950 people charged with DUI in Washington. The average blood alcohol level of people arrested for DUI is about .14 percent – almost twice the legal limit of .08 percent. The Task Force strongly encourages people to plan ahead, use designated drivers, stay in hotels, get taxis-do whatever it takes to make sure that the person behind the wheel is sober.