Citizen Reporting of DUI- Extra Eyes to Identify Impaired Driving
As previously indicated, Operation Extra Eyes in Montgomery County, Maryland, was designed as a method for energizing DUI enforcement in departments suffering from officer burn-out and shortages due to the 9/11 tragedy and the Metropolitan area sniper occurrence. It also was intended to allow trained citizens to work hand-in-hand with law enforcement to build a citizen-officer bond and create a safer community.
To capture the success of these aims, a primary evaluation method used was conducting a number of face-to-face and telephone interviews with Extra Eyes staff and volunteers, as well as other key informants. This allowed us to gain a thorough understanding of the program’s history, operation, and perceived value. PIRE staff also rode along with an Extra Eyes team on one evening. Additionally, to supplement the interviews, we administered surveys to Montgomery County patrol officers. This allowed all officers to share their experiences concerning the Extra Eyes program. However, this evaluation was essentially retrospective, and because (1) some of the information was dependent on program participant recall rather than objective data, and (2) not all of the desired historical archival data were collected or available, some of the impact questions have been difficult to thoroughly address.
Another goal of the evaluation was to assess the extent of deterrence the program may have had on DUI activities across Montgomery County. Toward this aim, we collected data on DUI arrests, alcohol-related crashes, media coverage, and public awareness information for Montgomery County, and then compared these data with similar data collected from two comparison counties in Maryland—Prince George’s and Anne Arundel—where the Extra Eyes program did not exist. We collected data in all three counties from January 2000 to October 2005; however, the 2005 data will not be available until 2006 for some categories.
Data were primarily solicited from police departments in the three counties, the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT), and the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA). Media information and publicity were gathered from Extra Eyes program personnel, Lexis-Nexis searches, and general Internet searches. When necessary, however, we also sought data from the Maryland State Police and other enforcement entities in the comparison counties.
Finally, to assess the potential impact of the program on enforcement efforts and on the consequences of impaired driving behavior we also examined patterns of DUI arrest and alcohol-related crashes. However, this was difficult to address solely in the context of Extra Eyes. Consequently, we used several data sources to inform our understanding of the patterns observed, with the hope of shedding light on the extent to which Extra Eyes was affecting these measures.
The Extra Eyes program is operated in Montgomery County, Maryland. Thoughtful consideration was given to selection of the comparison jurisdictions. These comparison counties were not only based on equivalent county populations but also on median household income and crash rate. Figure 3 shows a map of Maryland’s counties.
As illustrated in Table 5, Montgomery County is most comparable to Prince George’s and Baltimore counties by population. However, by median household income, Montgomery County is most similar to Frederick, Howard, and Anne Arundel counties. Estimated household income for 2000 through 2004 in the Washington suburban and Baltimore regions are provided in Table 6.
After considering all the factors, we selected two comparison sites: Prince George’s because of its comparable population size and Anne Arundel because of its similarity in median annual income and reported crash rate.
Program Participant Interviews
A large component of this evaluation entailed a series of telephone and face-to-face interviews with various participants (e.g., officers and volunteers) in the Extra Eyes program. Interviews were conducted with 26 participants in several capacities:
This information was gathered to inform our understanding of any patterns observed in other data. It also provided a broader description of the program’s inception and operational aspects.
Patrol Officer Data
In addition to interviews, data regarding the Extra Eyes program were collected from patrol officers. The Montgomery County Police administered a paper-and-pencil survey (developed by the PIRE staff) to patrol officers to determine their awareness of, involvement with, and support for the Extra Eyes program. Thirty-four officers completed the survey.
Data on DUI Arrests
DUI arrest data were available through May 2004; however, analyses were conducted only on data from 2000 through 2003. Chi-squared tests were used to determine whether there was independence between the years and the number of arrests experienced by Montgomery County and the comparison counties.
Data on Crashes
We obtained statewide crash data from the MDOT on total crashes and driver-involved alcohol- or drug-impaired crashes in each of the three counties by month and year from 2000 through 2004 (2005 data will not be available until 2006). This timeframe allowed for examination of data from at least 2 years prior to implementation of the Extra Eyes program to the present.
The Maryland MVA administered a brief survey in each county (Montgomery, Prince George’s, and Anne Arundel) in November 2005 to assess citizen awareness of the Extra Eyes program in Montgomery County and citizen reporting in all three counties.
Media Coverage and Public Information Activities
To identify media coverage of Extra Eyes and other citizen reporting programs in Montgomery County and the comparison counties, we conducted a multiyear (from implementation of the Extra Eyes program in November 2002 through October 2005) Lexis-Nexis search. Additionally, we obtained the documentation of publicity efforts for the Extra Eyes program from the Montgomery County Police Department.
We also examined the amount of resources allocated to DUI enforcement in Montgomery County and the comparison counties. We determined this by comparing records of support for overtime DUI enforcement activity in each county provided by the Highway Safety Office (HSO). All specialized DUI enforcement efforts are funded through this source.
One note of caution, however the evaluation of the Montgomery County Extra Eyes program was essentially a retrospective one, and some of the information was dependent on program participant recall rather than objective data. Further, not all of the historical archival data desired were collected or available. Thus, some of the detailed impact questions have been difficult to thoroughly address in this study.