East Hampton Town police will be cracking down on drunken driving this holiday weekend and throughout the summer by joining forces with police departments across the East End in a program announced yesterday by Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas J. Spota’s office.
The program, called NiteCAP, or Nighttime Concentrated Alcohol Patrol, will deploy selected combined units from across the East End on a rolling basis, with the goal of increasing the numbers of D.W.I. arrests town by town.
The program eliminates the lost hours that an officer is required to spend on a drunken driving arrest by immediately having a replacement officer ready.
“The courts have to see an unbroken chain of custody between the arresting officer and the suspect,” Capt. Michael Sarlo, executive officer of the East Hampton Town police, said yesterday.
Once making an arrest, an officer is required to stay with the person until either an in-station breath or blood test is given, or until the person refuses to take a breath or blood test on three separate, documented occasions, usually within one hour. If a driver is hospitalized, the officer is required to stay until a blood test is administered.
In addition, there is a great deal of paperwork involved after making an arrest.
All of this takes an officer off the road for many hours at a time, depleting the manpower on the streets and forcing the next shift to arrive early.
Many drivers are not aware of how little alcohol it takes to put the average person over the legal limit, frequently as few as two or three beers, Captain Sarlo said.