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Rockwall County law enforcement agencies holding Labor Day “No Refusal Weekend”

By J.J. Smith. (Mike Heard photo) If you’re stopped this Labor Day weekend for suspected drinking and driving by Rockwall County law enforcement authorities and you refuse to submit to a breath or blood test, a warrant will be issued 24/7  to draw a blood sample.

That’s because for the second year in a row law enforcement agencies across the County are conducting their Labor Day “No Refusal Weekend” to reduce the number of injuries and accidents caused by drunken drivers.

It began at 12:01 am today and continues through Noon Tuesday.

The Labor Day weekend through New Year’s Eve traditionally begins the deadliest time of the year for auto accidents, according to the National Injury Prevention Center of the Centers for Disease Control.

Last year’s program was well received by the community and refusals were reduced to 36 percent compared to 100 percent of refusals in 2008, said Rockwall County Criminal District Attorney Kenda Culpepper at a recent news conference.

“Last year, we were very pleased with the results of the program.  We spent a lot of time talking about the event and felt like the community heard the message,” she said.

“Law enforcement really focused on DWI investigations during the Labor Day Weekend, and we still had fewer DWI arrests than in many years in the past.”

“In addition, the refusal rate went from 100% during the Labor Day weekend of 2008 to only 36% of people refusing the test in 2009, which reduced the number of warrants we actually had to get.  I truly believe that if we can continue to get the message out about the no refusal weekend, it will deter people from driving while intoxicated and/or encourage them to have a designated driver.”

“It is important that the community knows how serious Rockwall County is about keeping intoxicated people off our streets and our waterways.”

She pointed out that officers will only seek warrants after probable cause has been established.

“It is important to remember that an officer will seek a warrant only after he has already developed probable cause to arrest the individual,” she said.

“Officers will continue to offer suspects the opportunity to consent to the test.  This program does not add an additional time in detention, it just allows us to strengthen the evidence we can take to trial.”

Efforts to reduce accidents are being coordinated on several fronts.

The District Attorney’s Office has purchased 50 blood-draw kits from the Department of Public Safety and will distribute them to participating agencies for their use during the program.

Lake Pointe Medical Center and Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Rockwall have agreed to provide trained phlebotomists to draw blood at the hospital throughout the weekend.

Rockwall County Judge David Rakow, Rockwall Municipal Judge Cathy Penn, Royse City Municipal Judge Paul Liston and McLendon-Chisholm Municipal Judge Andrew Leonie have agreed to work in shifts to review and consider the approval of the blood draw warrants.

The Rockwall County Commissioner’s Court has agreed to reimburse the cities for the judges’ overtime costs, and Judge Rakow and prosecutors have agreed to work without overtime compensation in order to make the program a success.

The Rockwall County Criminal District Attorney’s Office has also provided training for law enforcement officers and supervisors regarding the blood draw warrants and procedures.

The law enforcement agencies involved in the program are the Heath Department of Public Safety, Rockwall Police Department, Rockwall County Sheriff’s Office, Rockwall County Constables, Rowlett Police Department, Royse City Police Department, Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, and the Wylie Police Department.

Law enforcement officials who appeared at the press conference to announce the event were, left to right, Rowlett Police Officer Charles Hoff, Rockwall Police Assistant Chief Kirk Riggs, Rockwall County Sheriff Harold Eavenson, Royse City Police Lt. Jeff Stapleton, Rockwall County Criminal District Attorney Kenda Culpepper, Heath Department of Public Safety Chief Terry Garrett, Rockwall Police Chief Mark Moeller and Rockwall County Constable Randy Parks.

1 Response for “Rockwall County law enforcement agencies holding Labor Day “No Refusal Weekend””

  1. CHRIS CAUBLE says:

    just another example of the police state that we live in now give me a brake!! people wake up dont you see this is a violation of your rights as americans!! think about this if we were really concerned enough about drunk drivers,all we would have to do is equip all cars manufactured in the us with breath analysis machine that you would have to blow before you can start the vehickle, but you wont see it because the police and goverment want total control of your life,and be able to intimidate you!! lets not forget all the revenue that would be lost from the analysis machines in your car, personaly it wouldnt bother me at all if i had to blow before i could start the car! but giving up my rights and having someone draw my blood because he thinks im drunk is crazy!!! im sick of the lies and scare tactics being used by the government and the police dept! it makes my skin crawl with anger because we are not a free society we drive around like sheep!!wondering when its are turn to get abused next?people wake up we do not live in the united states anymore they have destroyed the constitution and you dont even know it.check out INFOWARS.COM IF YOU WANT THE TRUTH ABOUT THE POLICE STATE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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