Grants Awarded to Freeport and Long Beach Police Departments will enhance DWI patrols on weekends and holidays from May through September
MINEOLA, N.Y. – Nassau County District Attorney Anne T. Donnelly, Freeport Police Department Chief of Police Michael Smith, and Long Beach Police Department Commissioner Ronald J. Walsh, Jr., announced today $55,000 in grants provided by NCDA that will fund enhanced DWI enforcement through the summer.
“Long Island is a summer destination. We have great beaches and nightlife, but unfortunately, we also have drunk drivers. These grants will allow the Freeport and Long Beach Police Departments to enhance their DWI patrols during this busy holiday season, taking proactive steps to combat drunk or drugged driving and save lives,” said DA Donnelly. “To those heading out to celebrate the unofficial start of summer, remember it’s just not worth it to drink and drive. If you do, you’ll be arrested and prosecuted. You will also endanger the lives of countless people in our communities. Take a rideshare or grab a cab and always think before you drink.”
“I thank District Attorney Donnelly for her assistance in providing funding for enhanced DWI patrols throughout the Village of Freeport during the summer months,” said Freeport Chief of Police Michael Smith. “These additional officers on patrol will be assigned to enforce DWI related offenses at strategic times and locations. Additionally, the increased visibility of police officers should serve as a deterrent to those motorists who would consider getting behind the wheel of a car after consuming alcohol.”
“In law enforcement, we often refer to the time between Memorial Day and Labor Day as the 100 deadliest days of the year,” said Long Beach Police Commissioner Ronald J. Walsh, Jr. “We have already made 20 DWI arrests this year. These stepped-up patrols help us keep our residents and visitors safe. We cannot thank District Attorney Donnelly enough for her support. It is truly saving lives.”
From 2021 to 2022, the Freeport Police Department doubled the number of arrests made for people driving under the influence. The Department made 60 DWI arrests in 2022. As the COVID-19 pandemic eased, the department has seen an increase in offenses as drivers returned to work and to their pre-pandemic lifestyles.
In Freeport, on March 1, 2023, a 24-year-old pedestrian was tragically killed on Babylon Turnpike by an individual who was allegedly driving while more than twice the legal limit for alcohol.
Over the past eight years, the Long Beach Police Department has made 976 DWI arrests, including 262 drug-related DWI arrests.
The grants, fully funded by criminal asset forfeiture funds provided by NCDA, will be used to fund dedicated manpower to combat DWI during the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day, which are some of the deadliest days on Nassau County’s roads.
The stepped-up enforcement efforts will be staffed entirely by officers who are specially trained in field sobriety tests, breath analysis, and drug recognition. Roving patrols will focus on strategic times, including weekends and holidays, and locations, including bars, waterfront areas, and outdoor restaurants, where DWI’s are most likely to take place.
In addition to pulling over drivers suspected of drunk or drugged driving, police will also be observing patrons leaving these establishments for signs of possible impairment and warning them of the consequences of drunk driving or boating.