National Spotlight Focuses On District Attorney’s DWI Programs

According to the Montgomery County District Attorney, Brett Ligon, one of the most frequently committed crimes in Montgomery County is DWI and the most likely mechanism of violent death is a motor vehicle. Because of these significant problems, he has instituted several policies and procedures designed to make DWI law enforcement and prosecution much more effective in the fight against impaired and reckless drivers. These efforts are being noticed around the country for their effectiveness. Vehicular Crimes prosecutor, Warren Diepraam, this past weekend updated hundreds of traffic safety specialists on the developments in this county in Philadelphia for the Lifesaver’s Conference.

The Lifesaver’s Conference is billed as the world’s largest and most influential traffic safety conference. Attendees from all corners of the globe attend the conference to learn about recent developments in traffic safety. Victim’s rights advocates, Department of Transportation employees, police officers, prosecutors, doctors, educators, and a multitude of others attend the conference. Some of the general topics covered at the conference are occupant protection, traffic safety trends, police procedures, impaired driving, and many others.

Diepraam was one of several prosecutors from around the country brought in with federal grants to the conference to address new and innovative enforcement and prosecution programs. Also presenting at the conference were traffic safety resource prosecutors Jared Olsen from Idaho, Beth Barnes from Arizona, Clay Abbott from Texas, and Captain Scott Silverii from Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office in Louisiana. The presentations by Diepraam over the weekend focused on the No Refusal DWI Warrant program, the No Refusal Boating While Intoxicated initiatives, and the use of social media in focusing attention on DWI. According to police on the streets of this county, there appears to be a drop in the number of DWI cases during these initiatives and there have been no boating or highway fatalities during one of these high visibility events.

Approximately two hundred people were in the audience for the presentations. Laura Dean-Mooney, the MADD National President indicated that these presentations were amongst the best at the four day conference. Chuck Hayes with the International Association of Chiefs of Police indicated that these presenters will be invited to their conference next summer so that police around the world can learn about these effective techniques. Brett Ligon stated that the programs that are being instituted by the office and area law enforcement are bringing solid evidence to prosecutors, but more importantly, have saved lives and will continue to do so.

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