AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - Area law enforcement are stepping up their efforts this year to crack down on drunk driving in Amarillo.
There were 786 DWI arrests and 297 DWI-related vehicle accidents in Amarillo last year, according to the Amarillo Police Department.
“One of the four directives that the chief has for our police department is decreasing DWI-related accidents and DWI-related fatalities and we’re always looking for ways that we can do better in that area,” said Sgt. Carla Burr with the APD. “And recently, in one of our employee meetings an officer brought up the fact, maybe we could get help from surrounding agencies.”
The first weekend in January, DPS troopers from surrounding cities such as Canyon and Hereford were called to patrol within Amarillo city limits to look out for drunk drivers.
“Overall between the two departments, we made 160 traffic stops plus 12 DWI arrests,” said Sgt. Cindy Barkley with the Texas DPS.
The APD said for a single weekend, it’s far too many.
“Twelve arrests is a lot of intoxicated people on the streets and what people do need to understand is that each DWI arrest takes sometimes between two and three or four hours to do,” said Burr. “So getting 12 with just a limited amount of officers is actually a pretty big deal.”
Burr said they will also continue to push the importance of planning ahead while you can.
“As a community if we could get people to, the norm to be, the trend, whatever we want to call it, to be plan ahead,” she said. “When Uber and taxis and Lyft are so readily available in our community now. It’s a $15 ride versus $15,000 to pay for a defense. To me, it’s just unacceptable, it should be unacceptable for all of us.”
Both Amarillo Police and the Texas Department of Public Safety recognize a serious DWI problem in Amarillo.
They plan to continue these joint task force patrols on random days as opposed to just around popular drinking holidays.
“They’re not going to catch every single one but they are looking for them and they are doing the best they can and we are trying to lessen the amount and get that number down eventually, hopefully," said Burr.