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Long IslandCrime

Law enforcement cracking down on impaired drivers New Year’s weekend

Nassau police conduct a DWI checkpoint on Jan.

Nassau police conduct a DWI checkpoint on Jan. 1, 2014, on Hempstead Turnpike in Levittown. Police in both Nassau and Suffolk counties are again stepping up DWI enforcement over the New Year's holiday. Photo Credit: Kristy Leibowitz

Have fun, be safe. Don’t drink and drive.

That is the message from law enforcement this New Year’s weekend: Those who don’t heed that advice can expect to end up behind bars to start 2017.

And they mean bars like those in a jail cell.

Nassau County police, Suffolk County police and the Suffolk Sheriff’s Office announced they will have increased DWI patrols this New Year’s holiday weekend, as part of what Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano called “an extensive DWI enforcement initiative” and what Suffolk police Commissioner Timothy D. Sini said would include “increased enforcement and high-visibility” checkpoints.

“To keep the roads safe,” Sini said in a statement, “we will be out in full force targeting those who drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs.”

Or, as Nassau acting police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter said: “DWI arrests would not have to occur if people make sensible and educated decisions.”

Suffolk Sheriff Vincent F. DeMarco said the Sheriff’s Proactive Impaired Driving Effort DWI enforcement team will include patrols involving trained drug recognition experts on the lookout for impaired drivers, as well as the BAT Mobile — a “completely self-contained DWI processing center.”

That, DeMarco said, will help deputies promptly process any offenders and enable them to quickly get offenders locked up, giving enforcement personnel more time to concentrate efforts out on the roads.

Helping fund the DWI crackdowns is a state program called STOP-DWI, which provides funds to local jurisdictions for enhanced patrols and enforcement during major holidays.

“There will be additional police patrols all around Nassau County,” Mangano said, “and chances are if you drive drunk at any point over New Year’s Eve, you will be arrested.”

To that end, police advise partyers to choose a designated driver if they plan on drinking; to take mass transit or a cab; or to spend the night where the event you attend is taking place.

Police also suggest you download the STOP-DWI mobile app — www.stopdwi.org — and that you always use seat belts when traveling in any vehicle. As police said, “It’s your best defense against a drunken driver.”

In Nassau, police also have helped arrange for free rides home from a bar, pub or catering hall, those rides available from All Island Transportation by calling 516-326-9090.

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