More than 40 police officers from 18 area agencies came to Augusta on Thursday for an intensive daylong training session on DUI enforcement.
Officers were provided information on topics ranging from field sobriety tests to case law to effective courtroom testimony.
Richmond County sheriff’s Sgt. Danny Whitehead, who heads the sheriff’s DUI Task Force, said the training was extremely helpful for all the officers, many of whom encounter impaired drivers every day.
“To make a successful DUI case, there are a lot of steps involved,” he said, explaining that the session reinforced training and gave officers new information on best practices in making arrests and assisting prosecutors in getting a conviction.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Center for Statistics and Analysis, Georgia had 1,284 traffic fatalities in 2009. About 26 percent were alcohol-related.
The free training was funded with a grant from the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety and conducted by the Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council of Georgia, according to Lt. Lewis Blanchard, of the Taliaferro County Sheriff’s Office, which was co-host of the event with the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office.
The instruction was held at Blanchard’s business, the Foundation Club on Azalea Drive.
“Our goal is to save lives through education and enforcement,” Blanchard said. “We also wish to ensure that our area officers have all of the training needed to effect proper traffic stops and remove impaired drivers from our roadways.”