***Note: Media members who are interested in covering this event are asked to RSVP with Matthew Reid at 603-276-9216 or [email protected] by 8 a.m., Friday, March 12.***
PROVIDENCE — The Rhode Island Police Chiefs’ Association will be hosting a press conference tomorrow to unveil nine new patrol vehicles specifically designed to assist in drunk and impaired driving enforcement throughout the state. The vehicles were funded through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration via the Rhode Island Department of Transportation’s Office on Highway Safety (OHS).
Friday, March 12, starting at 10 a.m.
Cranston Police Training Complex, 493 Phenix Ave., Cranston, RI 02920
- Sidney Wordell, RIPCA Executive Director
- Chief Richard Ramsay, West Greenwich Police Department, RIPCA President
- Peter Alviti, Jr., Rhode Island Department of Transportation Director
- Peter Neronha, Rhode Island Attorney General
- Chief Shawn Lacey, Westerly Police Department
The Rhode Island Police Chiefs’ Association will be holding this press event to announce the deployment of the cruisers. Guest speakers in attendance, ranging from local police chiefs to highway safety stakeholders and the Attorney General, will show the broad, statewide support that exists in Rhode Island for combatting impaired driving.
The cruisers, awarded to nine departments throughout the state, will be reserved specifically for use as dedicated alcohol impaired driving enforcement vehicles, allowing departments to increase the amount of targeted enforcement they are able to conduct throughout the course of the year as well as more easily track and utilize impaired-driving statistics and initiatives. In addition, the vehicles will be used for education purposes and are designed to visually resemble one another with “DUI Task Force” prominently displayed as well as NHTSA’s “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” message.
The cruisers were awarded to the following local departments throughout the state: Central Falls, North Kingstown, Portsmouth, Westerly, Woonsocket, Warwick, Burrillville, Cranston and West Warwick.
“By granting these nine departments a dedicated alcohol impairment enforcement vehicle, it assures that officers can locate a well-equipped cruiser immediately for sustained, high visibility and data directed DUI enforcement,” Executive Director Wordell said. “These cruisers will create increased general deterrence for impaired driving, as well as education, for the public statewide.”
The nine departments were selected based on their past positive performance of impaired driving efforts in their cities and towns.
The press event and unveiling of the vehicles coincides with the upcoming St. Patrick’s Day holiday, which is a time when impaired driving tends to increase dramatically. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2018 alone 73 people died in drunk driving accidents on St. Patrick’s Day across the country, and 38 percent of drivers killed in St. Patrick’s Day accidents had a blood-alcohol level over .08. Police departments throughout Rhode Island will be increasing enforcement of impaired driving laws during the holiday again this year.
AAA of Rhode Island, Mothers Against Drunk Driving-Rhode Island (MADD-RI) and other roadway safety stakeholders will be invited to attend.
The Rhode Island Police Chiefs’ Association will be partnering with the Rhode Island Department of Transportation/Office of Highway Safety and NHTSA at the press conference to provide educational material, statistics and discuss statewide efforts to make our roads safe.
The state’s Blood Alcohol Testing Mobile Unit, known as the BAT Mobile, will also be on site for the event.
NOTE: COVID-19 safety protocols, including mask wearing and proper social distancing, will be followed during the event.