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Long IslandCrime

DWI patrols added for Memorial Day weekend, police say

Nassau police officers gather at a news conference

Nassau police officers gather at a news conference Thursday where officials urged the public to heed their warning about stepped up DWI patrols over the Memorial Day weekend. Credit: Howard Schnapp

Nassau and Suffolk police will deploy extra patrols to clamp down on drunken driving over the Memorial Day weekend, officials in both counties said Thursday.

“We have zero tolerance for DWI,” said Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano at a news conference attended by Nassau District Attorney Madeline Singas, acting Police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter and representatives from safe-driving groups. “Think before you drink. . . . Please heed our warnings.”

Mangano said Nassau will have an additional 30 officers to patrol county roads, as part of the state’s STOP-DWI initiative that provides funding for the additional officers. The extra patrols will also be funded by asset-forfeiture funds from both the Nassau police department and district attorney’s office, Mangano said, adding that last Memorial Day weekend, law enforcement in Nassau made 45 DWI arrests.

Singas said Memorial Day weekend not only kicks off the unofficial start of summer, but also the “100 deadliest days of driving” in the county. She said authorities see an uptick in arrests for impaired driving as well as drag racing during the summer months.

“Just know that we are out there and will arrest and prosecute,” Singas said.

Krumpter urged drivers to rely on a designated driver or a cab if they plan on drinking. His department would look to seize vehicles from drunken drivers arrested over the weekend.

“It’s unfortunate that every year countless lives are ruined because of the irresponsible actions of a few people,” Krumpter said.

Rich Mallow, the state executive director of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, and Marge Lee, president of the Franklin Square-based group, Drive Educated Drive Informed Commit And Totally End Drunk Driving, also spoke at the news conference, urging motorists to consider the families impacted by DWI-related deaths and injuries.

“Let’s not put anyone else in the ground or in wheelchairs,” Lee said.

Officers in Suffolk will also step up patrols on roadways as well as the water over the three-day weekend, said Police Commissioner Tim Sini.

An additional 30 officers are scheduled to patrol local Suffolk roads — funded through two state grants, Sini said, and officers will set up DWI checkpoints throughout the county.

Last year Suffolk arrested 43 drivers over the Memorial Day weekend, Sini said.

“It’s just not worth it to drink and drive,” Sini said. “You’re putting your own life at risk, and the lives of others. Make plans to have a designated driver.”

With Gary Dymski

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