4. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

The Austin Police Department developed and implemented a number of measures de-signed to overcome identified problems related to the Department’s role in the DWI law enforcement system. These improvements had a measurable positive effect on two critical system performance parameters, namely, increases in the number of DWI arrests and in the DWI conviction rate. These improvements in system performance most likely were responsible for a 25% reduction in drivers in alcohol-related fatal crashes. The success of this program clearly shows that a carefully designed effort addressing critical DWI law enforcement problems can be implemented without major changes to the existing organizational structure of a police department in a large city, and without the acquisition of large amounts of additional resources, including personnel, equipment and facilities.

We recommend that metropolitan police departments in other cities consider taking a similar approach to DWI enforcement system improvement, adopting some of Austin’s. techniques where they are appropriate and devising new ones where they are not. We note that some of Austin’s problems for which improvements were sought but not realized involved other organizations that did not have significant participation in the program. Foremost among these was the problem of time-consuming post-arrest processing of DWI suspects. In many instances, the involvement of other organizations (often with different priorities and constraints) will be difficult to obtain, but should nevertheless be sought.