Suffolk D.A.: Think Twice Before Driving Drunk This Memorial Day Weekend

Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy D. Sini was joined by top law enforcement officials from across the East End at a press conference in Hampton Bays Friday to announce an enhanced D.W.I. enforcement effort this weekend. Courtesy of the Suffolk County district attorney's office

Police will be out in force on the East End this Memorial Day weekend, making sure those celebrating the unofficial start of summer are doing so responsibly. 

The East End D.W.I. Task Force of the Suffolk County district attorney’s office will be stepping up enforcement in the hope of deterring drivers from getting behind the wheel under the influence of drugs or alcohol over the holiday weekend. 

“The members of the district attorney’s office do not want to see you in court Saturday, Sunday, or Monday morning for an arraignment; we want you to be home with your families,” Suffolk District Attorney Timothy D. Sini said during a press conference on Friday. “If you’re going to be out having drinks, please make a plan to get home safe and make the right decisions. It’s simply not worth your life or the lives of others.”

The task force will send officers to several D.W.I. checkpoints "at strategic locations in high-traffic areas," a press release said.

Officers use breathalyzers to conduct field sobriety tests if they suspect a driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs. 

The task force, which was formed in 2012, is made up of law enforcement officers from the New York State Police, the Suffolk County sheriff’s office, and the Suffolk County, East Hampton Town, East Hampton Village, Quogue Village, Riverhead, Sag Harbor, Shelter Island, Southampton Town, Southampton Village, Southold Town, and Westhampton Beach Police Departments.

“These officers will be out in force this weekend sending a clear message to residents and visitors to our East End that drinking and driving is not tolerated here," Mr. Sini said. 

The task force is deployed on holidays or other times when the population increases. 

Last year, a Memorial Day weekend dragnet yielded 16 arrests, the D.A.'s office said. The task force has made approximately 600 drunken driving arrests throughout the year. 

At the press conference Friday, the district attorney also deputized 30 police officers from the participating agencies to the task force in a swearing-in ceremony, which gives them the right to police outside their usual jurisdictions. 

“The police departments here on the East End do a tremendous job keeping all the residents and visitors safe, which is a particularly complex task,” Mr. Sini said. “They have certain year-round populations and those populations spike during the summer months. The East End D.W.I. Task Force will allow for the pooling of our resources, working together to ensure that our roadways are safe.”