Weekend emphasis patrol nails 35, out again Saturday

Combined resources from 15 law enforcement agencies in Pierce and Kitsap Counties put over 50 extra officers on the road which led to 35 DUI arrests last Saturday night. Arrests numbered 26 in Pierce County; the other 9 were made in Kitsap County.

“We would have made even more arrests, but several officers participating in the patrol were called to the scene of two fatalities in which alcohol appears to have been a factor: one in the city of Puyallup and the other on South East Southworth Drive in Kitsap County,” said John Cheesman, chief of the Fircrest Police Department and incoming chair of the Tacoma Pierce County DUI and Traffic Safety Task Force.

“It’s very sad that on the very night of the patrol which aimed to prevent DUI, two more people — one a motorist and the other a motorcycle rider — lost their lives in crashes in which alcohol appears to have been involved,” said Mike Davis, chief of the Gig Harbor Police Department who hosted the Aug. 22 multi-agency patrol.

Saturday’s two-county special emphasis, which involved 439 traffic stops for safety violations, took place during the statewide Drive Hammered Get Nailed Campaign. The Aug. 22 patrol also was dedicated to Roger Hickel and Jessica Torres who lost their lives to impaired drivers in 2005 and 2008.

“Motorists will probably take a double-take when they see us out in full force again this coming Saturday,” said Chief Cheesman. This time, during the last 10 days of the Drive Hammered Get Nailed Campaign, officers will focus their efforts on south Pierce County roads where there has been a high number of impaired driving serious injuries and fatalities.

At 8 p.m. on Sat., Aug. 29, 26 officers, including three who are specially trained to test drivers for illegal and prescription drug impairment, will begin working city, county and state roads. “I recommend motorists take their lessons from the 35 who were arrested last Saturday,” says Chief Cheesman. “Find a designated driver before you leave the house if Saturday’s plans include alcohol and driving.”

Participating in the Bridge to Bridge annual DUI emphasis patrol, funded by the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, was the Bremerton Police Department, Suquamish Police Department, Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office, Pierce County Sheriff’s Department and the Gig Harbor, Fircrest, Orting, Sumner, University Place, Fife, Puyallup, Lakewood and Tacoma Police Departments. The Washington State Patrol provided both troopers and dispatch for the emphasis and the Washington Liquor Control Board conducted compliance and bar checks.