DWI stops begin Friday in Albany, continue until Monday

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ALBANY, N.Y. — Police departments across Albany
County have started patrols aimed at targeting St. Patrick's Day partiers who
decide to get behind the wheel.

For those who choose to get behind the wheel
while they're under the influence, there are police all across the county
looking for you.

“Since the Stop
DWI program, numbers have dropped, but were still seeing 20 to 30 arrests on
these blanket patrols which is still too high,” says Lt. Kerry Thompson, Albany
County Stop DWI Administrator.

This weekend's Stop DWI patrol is just one of
many that focus on party heavy holidays like St. Patrick's.

And for those who might spot the roadblock and
try to get out of it- not so fast.

“We do typically have roving cars in the area
should somebody see the checkpoint and turn around – were prepared to deal with
that as well,” says Lt. Thompson.

But the trend is shifting – it isn't just
alcohol anymore.

The popularity of prescription medications as
a way to get high is skyrocketing.

Lieutenant Todd Waldin, one of a handful of
area drug recognition experts across the region, is called in after a field
sobriety test leaves testers believing a driver is impaired, but not from
alcohol.

He then does some tests of his own.

“We have a stethoscope and a way to take
blood pressure and a magnifying glass with light on it to check for people
using intravenous drugs,” says Lt. Waldin. “Even if you combine the prescriptions
with one or two alcohol beverages, it can have major effects and people don't understand
that.”

The DWI sweep begins Friday and will run
through Monday – so be safe and call cabs.

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