On Wednesday, November 17, law enforcement agencies within Montgomery County will begin a multi-agency task force designed to help ensure that everyone enjoys the upcoming holiday season while remembering the importance of not driving while impaired. This year’s task force is comprised of members of the Montgomery County Police Alcohol Initiatives Unit, along with officers from each of the six Montgomery County police districts. They are joined by law enforcement officers from across the county and the Maryland State Police to devote their full time and attention to detecting alcohol-related offenses. Included in this group are a number of officers specially trained as Drug Recognition Experts, who have expertise in detecting violators who are impaired by prescription drugs or illegal substances. # # #
Contact: Media Services Division Phone: 240.773.5030
Several techniques and initiatives that will be utilized during the Holiday Task Force are: saturation patrols, compliance checks, controlled dispersal of underage drinking parties, covert surveillance of alcohol establishments, and sobriety checkpoints.
Saturation patrols consist of active enforcement of traffic laws in areas known for a high number of alcohol-related tragedies. Based on accident and arrest data, additional officers will be assigned to these areas, with the goal of getting the drunk or drug-impaired drivers off the road.
Compliance checks use underage volunteers who attempt to purchase alcohol at establishments which hold alcohol licenses. These volunteers do not misrepresent their age or provide false identification. These compliance checks take place county-wide to ensure that shopkeepers are careful not to sell alcohol to minors. Surveillance of local businesses who sell alcohol will take place by officers in plain clothes and unmarked cars.
During the holiday season, police routinely respond to calls for underage drinking parties. Once it is confirmed that alcohol is being consumed by attendees under the age of 21, the controlled dispersal plan is enacted to ensure that everyone in attendance is able to get home safely. All attendees are screened for alcohol usage, and those who are under age 21 are issued citations. Every person is then ensured a safe ride home. If they are juveniles, their parents are notified to come and get them. Any parent or other adult who hosts, or
allows, an underage drinking party to take place, are liable for a fine of up to $5,000 for EACH underage person in attendance. Anyone who becomes aware of a party that is currently in progress should call 301-279-8000, the police non-emergency number.
Finally, sobriety checkpoints will be conducted in conjunction with “Checkpoint Strike Force”, which is a combined effort in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Mid-Atlantic region to have increased DUI patrols each weekend. Montgomery County Police support, “Over the Limit, Under Arrest.” The location of the checkpoints is based on accident and traffic data focusing on areas drivers are most at risk for encountering impaired drivers.