Local OWI Task Force stepping up enforcement for Memorial Day weekend

Officers will be out looking for drunk drivers
Posted at 10:12 PM, May 26, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-26 23:21:44-04

Local law enforcement is stepping up patrols to keep you safe on the roads this Memorial Day weekend. 

One-hundred and fifty additional officers in Southeast Wisconsin will be out looking for impaired drivers.

Even though this Memorial Day weekend is off to a rainy start, that isn't stopping thousands from hitting the road to gather with friends and family for the extended weekend. With that often comes with drinking.

Many call it the unofficial start to summer. Memorial Day weekend kicks off the season of festivals. Kids enjoy the rides, adults like Paul Adamec enjoy other things.

"I'm out here having a couple drinks, a couple cold beers," he said.

All sorts of events put drivers out on roads. The Southeast Wisconsin OWI Task Force is getting out ahead of them.

"There's usually alcohol involved just about anywhere you go," said Wauwatosa Police Lt. Gary Gabrish.

A line of two dozen officers, deputies and state patrolmen kicked off the initiative Friday evening at Konkel Park in Greenfield. They were just a fraction of the Memorial Day Weekend drunk driving crackdown.

"We have these street roll calls out here so people realize we are going to be out in full force," Gabrish said.

Despite the rainy start, Gabrish said that doesn’t prove to deter impaired driving.

"Stats show that really weather does not keep OWI fatalities down over the years," he said.

Law enforcement from 35 local agencies are out to stop, test and arrest. Just ask Greenfield officer Garrett Olson.

"We'll just drive along like we're doing right now, we'll run plates, we'll mainly do traffic," he said.

Olson says OWI numbers have dropped over recent years, however, OWI-related fatalities have gone up in Wisconsin.

“It just takes that one time after you have a couple drinks and get behind the wheel that can be the one time you get in an accident or cause something to happen more terrible than that," Olson said.