Citizen Reporting of DUI- Extra Eyes to Identify Impaired Driving

Background and Operations

Extra Eyes History

In the aftermath of the 2002 sniper shootings at random roadside areas in Montgomery County, Maryland, and throughout the Washington, DC, metropolitan area, impaired driving enforcement suffered. When the sniper shootings occurred, law enforcement was already overstressed from increased security demands and the long overtime hours following the September 11, 2001, national tragedy. Montgomery County had to find a way to motivate police officers to conduct anti-DUI activities.

As the 2002 holiday season approached, Montgomery County residents and law enforcement agencies faced additional challenges, including budget constraints, staffing shortages, increased alcohol-related collisions and other tragedies, increased fatal collisions (including a 27% increase in pedestrian deaths), impaired driving arrests on a continuous four-year slide, and lack of motivation for patrol officers to conduct alcohol enforcement. Additionally, because misuse of alcohol is common among both adults and youths during the holiday season, drug- and alcohol-impaired driving are traffic safety issues of concern during the holidays, as are pedestrian safety, occupant protection, and aggressive driving.

To address these challenges, Montgomery County needed new, innovative, and comprehensive solutions that would use resources not normally tapped by law enforcement agencies. Consequently, Lieutenant David Falcinelli and Officer William Morrison of the Montgomery County Police Department created and implemented the multi-agency “Enhanced Impaired Driving Task Force” program as a new strategy to raise awareness, motivate officers, and educate the community. This comprehensive program was aimed at improving the safety of all motorists. It used civilian personnel and multiple law enforcement agencies, including the Montgomery County Police in cooperation with the Maryland State Police, the Maryland National Capital Park Police, Gaithersburg City Police, and the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office.

The Enhanced Impaired Driving Task Force was responsible for training volunteer civilians to help identify DUI offenders and using Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) volunteers to assist officers with paperwork, and to set up targeted enforcement at selected locations in Montgomery County. Types of enforcement strategies used by the task force included regular sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrols, the Cops-in-Shops program, the Repeat Offender program, and the Operation Fake-Out program, as well as a new program called “Operation Extra Eyes.” During task force activities, officers certified as drug recognition experts (DREs), commercial vehicle inspectors, and child safety seat specialists were available to provide their services if necessary.

Types of Enforcement Strategies

Sobriety checkpoints were conducted at selected locations based upon the latest alcohol-related crash data from the Maryland State Police. The checkpoints involved personnel from various police agencies through Montgomery County, including the Maryland State Police, Gaithersburg City Police, Rockville City Police, Chevy Chase Village Police, the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, and the Maryland National Capital Park Police. Passing vehicles were stopped and the drivers were questioned. Drivers were screened for alcohol and drug use, safety belt use, current driving status, and other potential violations. Police interns and SADD volunteers handed out traffic safety literature to motorists on topics such as aggressive driving and the Maryland .08 BAC law.

  • Saturation patrols focused enforcement activities on areas of special concern or on roadways known for fatalities.

  • The Cops-in-Shops program placed undercover officers in liquor stores and bars to check for underage alcohol purchases and underage drinking. Compliance checks were designed to ensure that the more than 800 Montgomery County establishments licensed to sell alcohol complied with laws prohibiting sales to minors and intoxicated people. Personnel from Montgomery County’s Alcohol Initiatives Section and inspectors from the Board of License Commissioners, assisted by underage interns, checked stores and restaurants continually to prevent sales to underage customers. Establishments in violation were cited administratively, and the individual clerks making the sales were charged criminally.

  • Operation Fake-Out was a relatively new program that teamed local business owners with police. Some college students returned home for the holidays with false identification cards that they used to gain access to local establishments and to drink alcohol. Plainclothes officers teamed up with door personnel at area bars, clubs, and restaurants to identify false IDs and to bring charges against people using them.

  • Operation Extra Eyes was a new program that enlisted the service of a select group of volunteer citizens with special training to partner with officers and monitor locations for underage drinking, drinking in public, and other alcohol violations. The enhanced saturation patrol incorporated the Extra Eyes and SADD volunteers in its operations, thus giving a more comprehensive targeting of not only impaired driving, but also a variety of traffic violations.

At a kickoff event on November 22, 2002, in Bethesda, Maryland, Montgomery County Police announced the special enforcement initiatives for the 2002 holiday season. Extra Eyes was a component of this larger impaired driving initiative. Presenters included:

  • Lieutenant David Falcinelli, Deputy Director of the Montgomery County Police Tactical Operations Division;
  • Lieutenant William Tower, Maryland State Police;
  • State Delegate William A. Bronrott, Maryland House of Delegates;
  • Stacy Kurnot, J.D., State Executive Director of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD);
  • Mr. Marc Serber, Montgomery County Chapter President, SADD;
  • Dr. Beth Baker, Regional Administrator, Mid-Atlantic Region, NHTSA;
  • Dr. Daniel Powers, Medical Director of Trauma Services for Suburban Hospital; and
  • Chief Charles A. Moose, Montgomery County Police.

This special kickoff meeting also was Operation Extra Eyes debut, although the program had been in formative stages for roughly a year.

Extra Eyes Objectives

operation extra eyes logo

Figure 1 . Logo for Operation Extra Eyes

The Operation Extra Eyes program was designed to assist law enforcement personnel in the detection of alcohol violations, offer an efficient method of fighting alcohol-related problems for departments suffering from a shortage of officers, and encourage trained citizens to work hand-in-hand with law enforcement to build a citizen-officer bond and create a safer community.

The objectives of the Extra Eyes program include:

  1. Expanding law enforcement surveillance capabilities of alcohol establishments, especially those demonstrating patterns of service to intoxicated or underage customers;

  2. Promoting community awareness of the scope of problems associated with alcohol misuse;

  3. Strengthening the relationship between the Police Department and the community; and

  4. Providing testimony from community advocates about problem alcohol establishments to the Board of License Commissioners.

The stated goal of Operation Extra Eyes is “to work in partnership with the community to make our roads safer and decrease the number of alcohol-related tragedies that affect our families.