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Winder DUI arrests increase from last 2 years due to better-trained officers

POSTED: June 24, 2014 9:10 a.m.
Special photo/Barrow County News

Winder traffic officer Cpl. Chris Wigner.

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Winder DUI arrest numbers are up this year compared to the last couple of years, and the police department is attributing that to better-trained officers.

At the end of May in 2012, the Winder PD had 62 DUI arrests, and at the same time of year in 2013, they had 74. At the end of last month, the police department had 111 DUI arrests for the current calendar year, said Corporal Chris Wigner, Winder PD traffic officer.

Wigner has been with the Winder PD for five and a half years and has been assigned to traffic law enforcement for the past two. He is currently the department’s only traffic officer, he said.

"My normal operation is to handle any kind of accident with injuries or fatalities," Wigner said. "My concentration is to enforce the traffic laws of the State of Georgia and to assist officers with DUIs and any other traffic incidents."

Wigner was awarded earlier this year by MADD—Mothers Against Drunk Driving. He received two awards from the organization: an award for more than 100 DUI arrests in the last calendar year, and a "DUI Hero" award for the highest total of DUI arrests in the Winder PD’s agency category.

According to MADD’s website, the number of drunk driving fatalities in Georgia in 2012 was 301, "representing 25 percent of all total traffic deaths, an 11 percent increase from (2011)."

The increase in DUI arrests in Winder this year, Wigner said, is likely due to more experience and training of the officers, which makes it easier for them to detect impaired drivers.

"We have some very good and well-trained officers, and the chief is very proactive on DUI enforcement and prosecuting DUIs," Wigner said.

Winder PD Public Information Officer Chris Cooper said Wigner’s job isn’t simply about DUIs, but rather all traffic laws, though he does focus on issues which increase accidents.

Cooper also noted that the public’s perception of traffic law enforcement is often skewed. For example, he mentioned that much of the public is not aware that ticket quotas are illegal, and that the Winder PD does give out a lot of warnings.

"Just the presence of having somebody out there helps," Cooper said. "We don’t always give citations. We are out there to enforce the laws, yes, but also just to make the roadways safer."

Cooper added that many other crimes have been stopped by routine traffic law enforcement.

Winder Chief of Police Jim Fullington said detecting impaired driving is just one part of traffic law enforcement.

"Our goal is to make the roads safer for all citizens in Winder," Fullington said. "We feel addressing impaired drivers is a big step toward that goal."



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1 comment
rescue4264: June 26, 2014 10:09 p.m.

No I don't think it's the training for the increase of DUI arrest but the increase of corruption. Why can't this story tell the outcome of many of these arrest as false arrest.



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