Advertised as a “first in the nation” partnership and pilot program, MADD will be performing “traffic observation” looking for drunk drivers in Florida over the labor day weekend. Volunteers will from MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Drivers) will be on the road from 10pm-2am looking for drunk drivers, and calling in suspects to local Florida Sherriff’s departments.
The volunteers will not have any special communication or access, and will be using their own cell phones. They will make no effort to stop drivers or otherwise interfere in the sheriff’s duties in any DUI stops that result.
However, they have all undergone “ride-along” training with officers, as well as classroom programs. Presumably they have been instructed as to what is and isn’t suspicious driving behavior that might lead one to believe that a driver is drunk or impaired.
The most interesting part of the article is where the Florida MADD director suggests that they will be keeping their own statistics as to “response times, percent of arrests, number of observations and interceptions, etc.” One wonders what expectations they have with regard to police responsiveness to their private patrolling.
And it is certainly a interesting question as to what effect, if any, these private patrols will have on police behaivor and drunk driving arrests in Florida.
Open questions remain as to whether these calls will recieve a higher priority response than other police duties. I hope Florida law enforcement does there own study, but also analyzes the cost of what the police are not doing if they are chasing many of these calls down. Are other areas of public safety at risk? For example, do domestic violence calls get slower response times while law enforcement is chasing these drivers around?
If the same resources are being used with different priorities, there is always a trade-off. Someone should be making sure that trade-off is worth it.
If you are accused of drunk driving in Florida, please contact us for a free consultation.