Sunday, August 26, 2007

Tennessee Unveils "Mobile Jail" as part of the state's "Booze It and Loose It" campaign
The state of Tennessee is introducing a new tactic to catch drunk drivers. A D.U.I trailer is part of the state's "Booze It and Loose It" campaign underway right now.

The program kicked off on Ashland Terrace Tuesday night. The Governor's Highway Safety Office introduced a sort-of "mobile jail" to help officers book drunk drivers at the scene of a checkpoint. Already, the new effort has been a success.

"Have you had anything to drink tonight, any alcohol?" an officer asked a motorist. Red Bank and Signal Mountain Police are out in full force.

"If you're drinking and driving, don't come out here," said Red Bank Sergeant Steve Dillard. They're checking for anything and everything. "Violation of tags, light laws, not wearing seat belts," he said.

Tuesday night's sobriety checkpoint focused on drunk drivers. "DUI is a very serious problem and we want to do our best to keep impaired drivers off our roads," Sgt. Dillard added.

On site, a new tool helps officers speed up the crack down. "It's going to expedite our process of processing our paperwork by having this here on the scene," Dillard said.

Law Enforcement is kicking off a pilot program in Southeast Tennessee to get offenders off the roads. "It keeps it going smoothly and that way we can do a better job of enforcing DUI," said Clint Shrum of the Governor's Highway Safety Office.

The DUI trailer is one of a kind. "We've got ability to put printers, laptops, whatever we need to put in here, we've got plenty of storage space under the benches as well," Shrum explained.

It travels across the Tennessee Valley, helping officers process impaired drivers. "We've got an intoximeter, or breath-a-lizer as some people like to call it," Shrum said.

The trailer is kind of like a mini jail, in addition to the intoximeter, it has two holding cells. Officers keep offenders there until they finish their paperwork, expediting the enforcement process. "We can get this done quicker, get them to the jail, and hopefully get back out here and catch another dui offender," Dillard said.

It's all part of a statewide effort to keep citizens safe. Sgt. Dillard said, "We want to make your travel through our city as safe as we possibly can."

One arrest at a time, it's fair warning for anyone thinking about driving drunk. "You get out here behind the wheel of a car, you're going to be caught," Dillard warned.

The trailer will travel all across the Tennessee Valley during the next month or so, so beware if you're out and about. Officers issued 41 citations Tuesday night and made three arrests. None of those were for D.U.I.

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