Advocates trying to change Wisconsin’s drunk driving laws are pushing for a police program called place of last drink, which would require OWI offenders to report where they had their last sip.
The program has its roots in local governments, not the state legislature, and the data collected has led to policy changes in Southeast Wisconsin.
Waukesha Police completed a place of last drink study back in 2015. Capt. Dan Baumann said that data helped lead to policy changes that are still in place today.
“We were able to identify a couple bars that were a high volume of OWI offenders that came from a specific bar,” Baumann said.
Officers went undercover at the bar and found impaired servers were unable to tell if someone had been over-served.
The investigation eventually led to Waukesha’s sober servers ordinance.
“It’s not that we want a punishment, it’s more of an education component of the dos and don’ts of sober serving,” Baumann said.
The study has the attention of Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm.
“If there’s particular establishments that have a higher rate of individuals who received their last drink from that establishment, that's somebody that you want to focus on,” Chisholm said.
Not all bar owners like the program, including Jimmy Dakolias, the owner of Boscos Social Club in downtown Waukesha.
“It's been a little unfair to name the place of last drink because you can't determine where someone had their drinks throughout the night,” he said.
Dakolias says because he owns one of the biggest bars in town, he’s bound to have more drunk drivers.
“Our bartenders have been making the right decisions it's just, we have more people leaving our bar at bar time than other places,” he said.
Chisholm says if it protects customers, it’s worth it.
“Those are real lives that are saved and quite frankly I think it’s good for those businesses as well,” he said.