banner - Grassroots Support for Impaired-Driving Law Enforcement Crackdown Efforts

Grassroots Activities

Additional Recommendations

Tip #1: Work with more than just law enforcement.

Law enforcement efforts can be greatly enhanced with support from community groups. They can be enhanced even further with support from and coordination with other important groups and organizations, including prosecutors, judges, court administrators, State highway safety offices, and the media. It is important to have these people on board at the beginning. For example, coordination with prosecutors, judges, and court administrators assures that sufficient resources will be available to handle the influx of DWI cases that might be generated during the enhanced enforcement effort. Support from the State highway safety office can include financial resources, equipment, and publicity for the enforcement efforts.

  • Prosecutors: When enhanced law enforcement is conducted, additional DWI cases often result. Efforts should be made to inform local prosecutors about such efforts, so they can make adjustments in staffing and resource allocations. Without this information, prosecutors may find themselves unprepared, and lead them to settle, drop, or dismiss cases, which can reduce general deterrence. Thus, it is vitally important to keep prosecutors informed about enhanced law enforcement activities. For example, MADD Indiana met with prosecutors and hosted informational lunches for judges to brief them on upcoming enforcement efforts. As a result, the prosecutors and judges anticipated the additional staffing and resource needs that would be required during the enhanced enforcement periods and the system was able to meet the increased demands.
  • Judges and Other Court Officials: Judges and court administrators also need to know about upcoming enforcement efforts for much the same reasons that prosecutors need to know – they must prepare for a larger case volume than normal. MADD Texas conducted a judicial seminar to inform judges about the crackdowns, their purpose, and their effectiveness.
  • State Highway Safety Office: State Highway Safety Offices can make resources and technical assistance available to law enforcement agencies and community groups. They also coordinate with many groups and organizations throughout the State and may be able to identify ways in which your organization may be able to collaborate and play a particular role to enhance law enforcement efforts. MADD Minnesota worked with the State highway safety office to focus on 13 counties that had the highest alcohol-related fatality rates, which helped them concentrate their recruitment efforts where they were needed most.
  • The Media: Working with the media is critical to obtain and increase levels of publicity. However, they are important for other reasons as well. Presenting awards to media outlets during recognition events led to increased coverage for them and also other honorees. MADD Arizona included media awards as part of their large-scale awards ceremony and, as a result, received coverage in both English and Spanish.
  • Other Partners: Additional partners can also provide assistance – with recruitment, participation, publicity, and recognition efforts. For example, you can work with political figures, local celebrities, and highway safety groups to help support law enforcement during crackdowns. MADD Ohio did a good job of bringing all of the above groups together, including First Lady Hope Taft.

Working with these groups provides several benefits. It can help create an increased sense of partnership. Everyone can see the breadth of support for the same cause. It can establish champions in non-law-enforcement fields. It can also help develop a cross-pollination of ideas. For example, MADD Tennessee conducted leadership meetings throughout the State with representatives from law enforcement, the State Highway Safety Office, the District Attorney’s Office, the Health Department, the State Highway Patrol, and others. The goal of each meeting was to discuss the You Drink & Drive. You Lose. crackdown, coordinate dates and details, and consider ways to combine efforts to make enforcement efforts as successful as possible. In Arizona, some law enforcement officers received recognition at an awards ceremony, and left inspired by ideas they learned from other awards winners from different regions in the State.

Tip #2: Think multi-lingual.

Bilingual materials have long been used in States such as Arizona, New Mexico, and Florida, but with increases in non-English speaking populations in many other areas of the country, it is important to consider whether the development of Spanish or other language materials need to be created. MADD Arizona presented an award to the best coverage by a Spanish language news outlet. MADD New Mexico also did billboards, events, and media in both English and Spanish. Additionally, in some areas, other languages may be appropriate.