Sharpening DUI detection skills

Posted at 11:29 PM, May 11, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-11 23:29:00-04

Cracking down on drunk drivers before the Memorial Day weekend.

Law enforcement officers from across Florida are sharpening their DUI detection skills in Palm Beach County.

The Florida Public Safety Institute funded a course for law enforcement officers to improve their ability to catch drunk drivers by brushing up their knowledge on field sobriety tests.

The Tequesta Police Department hosted dozens of officers and a wet lab consisting of drinkers ready to challenge the officers.

Local attorneys, law enforcement officers and residents drank in a controlled environment for four hours.

Their Blood Alcohol Content Levels were carefully monitored while they were served just enough drinks to meet, or barely exceed the legal driving limit.

Instructor Luis Blasco says those are the drinkers who are most likely to drive drunk.

“It’s usually those people who are the .06’s the .08’s that are in that risk taker mode,” Blasco said.

They’re also some of the hardest drinkers to catch. 

Officers conducted field sobriety tests for the drinkers.

Almost all of the officers would have arrested the drinkers, according to Blasco. 

The course comes just in time for the summer months, and Memorial Day, which Blasco knows can bring more tourists and potential drunk drivers to South Florida.

“Hopefully we’re bringing down our crashes and fatalities,” Blasco said.

In Palm Beach County, upwards of 3,000 arrests are made each year, according to law enforcement.

The wet lab was also an opportunity for attorneys to go back to their courtrooms, better prepared to prosecute DUI cases.

Blasco wanted them to see that the same amount of alcohol can impact people differently. 

One of the wet lab participants, who didn’t want to be identified, said in a real world setting, she may have actually considered driving.

Even above a .08 BAC, she felt she could drive. It reminded her that it’s never worth taking the chance.

“You could be facing DUI, and the arrest, and losing your license, and the fines, and the court process etc, so yea, it’s definitely an eye opening experience.”