Archive for Friday, December 18, 2009

Highway patrol program targeted drunk drivers on Lawrence streets

Weekend RAVE leads to DUI arrests

Kansas Highway Patrol troopers administer tests and fill out paperwork away from the jail using Blood Alcohol Units, known as B.A.U.s. Douglas County District Attorney Charles Branson wants officers to always go for a search warrant when they pull someone over so they can draw blood if a driver pulled over for a DUI refuses a test.

Kansas Highway Patrol troopers administer tests and fill out paperwork away from the jail using Blood Alcohol Units, known as B.A.U.s. Douglas County District Attorney Charles Branson wants officers to always go for a search warrant when they pull someone over so they can draw blood if a driver pulled over for a DUI refuses a test.

December 18, 2009

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Technical Trooper Edna Buttler questions an impaired driver during the highway patrol's RAVE Saturday, December 12, 2009. Troopers arrested five drunk drivers during their shift.

Technical Trooper Edna Buttler questions an impaired driver during the highway patrol's RAVE Saturday, December 12, 2009. Troopers arrested five drunk drivers during their shift.

By the numbers

11 - Portable breath tests administered

3 - DUI arrests made during the RAVE

2 - Zero tolerance (.02) arrests

2 - Open container arrests

2 - Alcohol-related accidents

2 - Average number of hours it takes to process a DUI

Technical Trooper Edna Buttler issues a citation to a Lawrence driver. Troopers participated in a RAVE program in Lawrence Saturday, December 12, 2009.

Technical Trooper Edna Buttler issues a citation to a Lawrence driver. Troopers participated in a RAVE program in Lawrence Saturday, December 12, 2009.

They could drive, but they couldn’t hide.

Multiple impaired drivers experienced firsthand during the weekend what the Kansas Highway Patrol’s RAVE program was all about.

The RAVE, or roving aggressive violation enforcement, targeted Lawrence drivers who chose to get behind the wheel after consuming alcohol.

RAVE found three people who fit that description Saturday night and early Sunday morning.

Eight Highway Patrol troopers, including Technical Trooper Edna Buttler, scoured the streets looking to help keep the roadways safe. Buttler, an eight-year veteran of the highway patrol, has participated in RAVEs before.

“We do it for the safety of the public,” Buttler said. “But it’s also for the safety of the drivers we pull over.”

Buttler’s eyes were sharp. She spotted traffic violations from as far as a block away and kept her head on a swivel. Troopers look for traffic violations, minor and major, that might suggest a driver has been drinking. Buttler said an average night consisted of about 20 traffic stops, depending on their nature. It’s a matter of numbers.

“The more people you pull over, the more likely you are to get impaired drivers off the road,” Buttler said.

Buttler said during the RAVE, which is funded by the Kansas Department of Transportation, she ended up performing many of what she referred to as “catch and release” traffic stops. The stops involved issuing minimum citations and warnings to drivers who committed minor offenses, which helped her focus most of her time on locating and stopping impaired drivers.

The method proved effective Saturday when Buttler arrested a drunk driver just before 10:30 p.m.

Buttler’s attention was drawn to a vehicle heading west on Sixth Street. The giveaway: the driver’s headlights weren’t on. She pulled the vehicle over on probable cause and after routine door-side questioning, determined the man had likely been drinking.

“When did you realize your headlights weren’t on?” Buttler asked.

“As soon as I saw you pull that U-ey,” the man replied.

For many DUI arrests, highway patrol troopers are able to administer tests and fill out paperwork on site, thanks to a specially equipped van called a Blood Alcohol Unit, or BAU.

Buttler used the mobile unit during her arrest. She worked patiently with the man, who in his state wasn’t very cooperative. Buttler had to administer the breath test using a machine called the Intoxilyzer 8000, two separate times because the man could not hold a steady breath long enough.

Then the excuses started. The man gave multiple reasons as to why he couldn’t complete the test. Smoking and cold weather were his top two choices. Buttler explained that excuses were commonplace during DUI arrests.

After more than two hours in the BAU, Buttler was finally able to verify what her observations had suggested, the man was over the legal limit, blowing above a .090. Although the process was time-consuming, Buttler said it would have likely taken longer at the jail.

“There is a lot of time and effort saved,” said Technical Trooper Matt Payne, who was responsible for the BAU last Saturday. “It really streamlines the whole process.”

During the weekend’s RAVE, three people were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol.

Though Buttler dealt with people in a calm and respectful manner, she said she was often on the receiving end of less-than-polite exchanges, just one part of what could sometimes feel like a thankless job.

Buttler said she doesn’t let the negative exchanges get to her, but instead said she did her job thinking of the bigger picture.

“I do it for the sporadic thank you,” Buttler said. “For the people who do appreciate what you’re doing. I know that in the end, it’s changing the course, someone is going home.”

Comments

sublime1986 5 years, 4 months ago

It is funny that they only arrested 3 people the whole weekend using this. I see at least three drunk people every time I am out driving in lawrence on weekend nights. Next they will just illegally stop everyone they want to. Wait they already do. D.U.I. checkpoints. I dont like people who drink and drive but i hate the police even more therefore i am glad the numbers were low. It is not like the people that get dui's actually stop drinking and driving because of this. Give it a day and they will be out doing it again. With or without license.

conservative 5 years, 4 months ago

Wow 8 cops all night and they only caught 3? 1 cop could catch that many in 30 minutes by watching the taco bell drive thru right after bars close.

rollcar 5 years, 4 months ago

Did you really just say that you hate police more than you hate drunk drivers?

lgreen17 5 years, 4 months ago

How much $$ does Buttler make an hour? How much did that BAC cost? Those were three VERY expensive arrests!! (I'm not saying you shouldn't arrest people for DUI, it's just the high cost of finding three drunk people is pretty shocking.)

gogoplata 5 years, 4 months ago

I wouldn't say that I hate cops but I can honestly say I don't have much respect for them.

Legalize Drunk driving by Lew Rockwell http://www.lewrockwell.com/rockwell/drunkdriving.html

BlackVelvet 5 years, 4 months ago

the caption of the photo of Trooper Buttler said 5 persons were arrested. Which is it LJW? 3 or 5?

Vinny1 5 years, 4 months ago

Michael - 2 were arrested for zero-tolerance driving. This means they were under 21, or already had a revoked license in which case anything .02 or higher will get arrested. Read the "By the Numbers" on the side.

Sublime - Completely agree on the DUI checkpoints being illegal. It completely goes against any "probable cause."

Ian Brown 5 years, 4 months ago

I saw at least four 75-85 year old's driving yesterday. That scared me to death. They are a much larger risk than someone who had a few brew's after work and might blow a .09. In my freshman year at college, I was on my way to finals at around 11:30am, and a man, approximately 79 years of age, blatantly t-boned me as he pulled out of Sonic on east 23rd street, with absolutely no traffic that might have rushed or blinded his apparent desire to drive into the side of my beloved '90 Cadillac. Fortunately, I wasn't injured, my professor was understanding and forgiving, and I got 2500 bucks out of the old bastard for being a damn idiot. So until they start making law's restricting blind 70+ year olds from driving, I don't want to hear a damn thing about drunk driving.

Flap Doodle 5 years, 4 months ago

dude, I hope you saved the receipt from your anger management class. You should get a refund.

mae 5 years, 4 months ago

i am far more relaxed driving with drunks when i get off work late night than i am driving midday with all the phone idiots.

personally i'd rather see more cops during the day enforcing than at night getting the lone car on the road. i do mean enforcing, not just sitting somewhere slowing traffic with their presence.

Leslie Swearingen 5 years, 4 months ago

I am 64, but I agree about the older drivers. I think that some of them are driving because their family doesn't want to take time from their busy schedule to do so. At some point they have to stop driving and make other arrangements. I don't want me or my family to be put in danger because of these drivers. I don't drive.

LoveThsLife 5 years, 4 months ago

So for everyone they pull over for a DUI..how many are able to post bond the following day?

mr_right_wing 5 years, 4 months ago

Isn't it interesting how there are those without respect for police when they pull your over for speeding or running that stop sign.

But when you need help and a officer is just one phone call away it's a different story.

Wow...no respect for someone who is willing to put their life on the line for you every day. Are firefighters unworthy of respect as well I wonder? What an ingrate.

A huge thank you to our public servants; some of whom will be out Christmas eve away from their families. Some may disdain you or not respect you, (criminals most likely) but the majority of us (law abiders) do. (I guess his felony conviction didn't sit well with gogoplata)

gogoplata 5 years, 4 months ago

What felony conviction? You know as much about me as you do the bs state propaganda you are blathering about. They serve the state and not the people. Just another way for the state to push people around and take thier money. It is good to see from the comments today that there are plenty of Americans who care about liberty and freedom. Most of us wouldn't mind cops if their dutys were limited to serving the public instead of serving the state.

Andrew Boyd 5 years, 4 months ago

they did a similar type step up in pittsburg this year to kick off the school year only they netted over 50 arrest in less then 36 hours. though it was a joint effort in pittsburg involving the university police, city police, county sheriff, and the troopers.

randysavage 5 years, 4 months ago

All the "cop hater" haters (barry and mr. rightwing) need to chill. Apparently neither of you have had a shady cop give you the business, if you will. Be thankful we aren't in a small town where cops memorize faces, cars, acquaintances , and love nothing more than to be the man to put your name in the daily record....

(Good) Cops are respectable. Vindictive, bored, small town cops....not so much.

Decriminalize marijuana and put an end to DUI checkpoints. I would hope most civil-liberty lovin' Americans would agree.

labmonkey 5 years, 4 months ago

Arrest the texters. If they see a driver with a little screen in front of their face, they should be pulled over.

HYPO's and many deputies are usually trustworthy...it is local cops that are the most corrupt.

Boeing 5 years, 4 months ago

Sublime - I hope next time you desperately need the police, they fail you.

mr_right_wing 5 years, 4 months ago

OK, I guess I understand. If I were a chronic law breaker I wouldn't be crazy about any authority either.

Alright, the police work for the state, if the state keeps you from driving drunk...good for the state!!

People need to understand that driving is a privilege not a 'right' and you are driving on roads supplied by taxes we all pay; so I (and most of us who don't drive drunk) have no problem whatsoever with these checkpoints. It's just too bad that you drunks aren't the ones killed in most fatal drunk driving crashes instead of the innocent.

randysavage 5 years, 4 months ago

Mr_right_wing, you seem to be missing the point....

Some police officers (aka state employees, heroes, patriots) are not respectable. DUI checkpoints are unconstitutional. As mr_right_wing, I would assume you would be the first person to stand up for civil liberties. (I can hear you now, "Civil liberties??? How about my g d* civil liberty to drive the roads without having to worry about getting t-boned by a "drunk", says mr_right_wing)

People that have been drinking shouldn't drive, that doesn't change the fact that cops all over our "great" country are stopping people and submitting them to sobriety tests without probable cause. It doesn't take a hardass/right winger/sensible human, like yourself, to declare that drunk people should avoid "driving a car or operating machinery".

But hey, my can of Bud doesn't say anything about not driving my pickup....

mr_right_wing 5 years, 4 months ago

If DUI checkpoints are 'unconstitutional" (could you supply the Supreme Court case?) than it is your civic duty to protest by refusing to drive on public, taxpayer supported roads. Set an example and tear up that government issued drivers licence. Refusing to indulge in the privilege of driving will show us all. If you refuse to drive your 'civil rights' cannot not be infringed upon.

mr_right_wing 5 years, 4 months ago

....and a reminder to those of you who seem to think all police are corrupt; "The Dukes of Hazzard" was a fictitious TV show, not a documentary. Reality check.

sublime1986 5 years, 4 months ago

the next time i need the police desperately.... will be never. prick. and where are the police when people are running the light at 23 and iowa. Sittin in a parking lot on their cell phone about to give another person a bs ticket for another bs reason, not concerned for my safety i know that.

randysavage 5 years, 4 months ago

wow, mr_right_wing. the 4th amendment....

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

friggin jaggazz

equalaccessprivacy 5 years, 4 months ago

OMG even fricking DUI busters expect thanks in this town. Thanks from who? Is that self-serving or really selflessly working toward the betterment of society?

notajayhawk 5 years, 4 months ago

randysavage (Anonymous) says…

"wow, mr_right_wing. the 4th amendment…."

First of all, supergenius, this story has nothing to do with checkpoints. The drivers who were stopped were observed commiting infractions.

Second, when one is exercising a privilege granted to them by the state, representatives of the state merely requiring them to do no more than they would have to do when they approach one of those pesky red octagonal signs in order to verify they are legally comlying with the requirements of said privilege is hardly 'search and seizure.'

Third, hey, it's not too late - you sound like you're already prepared for this test, so head out there, find a roadblock, and when you get to court, tell the judge the roadblock was unconstitutional.

Let us know how that works out for ya'.

And BTW, what kind of a "friggin jaggazz" sits there and argues vehemently that we shouldn't allow efforts to prevent drunk driving?

Glen Moore 5 years, 4 months ago

I love it. Since 1 cop alone driving their patrol car paid for by tax dollars cant do their job lets put 8 out there to catch 1. So now we have an 8.1 ratio. If lawrence keeps thinking this way they will need to hire about 1500 more cops to cover New years. "To Protect and to Serve" Not harass! I got a kick out of a HYPO the other day. Here I am driving down our beloved K-10 and this guy is txting on his phone (obvious by the glow from the little screen in his face when I passed) and I notice his head lights jerk behind me. I am thinking he veared off into the gravel while txting his girlfriend :P Lets forget about the cop busted taking empty video games back to Target and selling the games online. Fine and outstanding http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2009/jun...

kawvalleybulldog 5 years, 4 months ago

I'm not OK with us (the citizens) paying for a militarized armed force to patrols us!! And another thing- WTF is up with the white on white cop cars where you can barely read the POLICE lettering. They made it low visibility so it's harder for citizens to detect. If there's an Emergency we need to be able to locate an officer. Those cars should be painted as bright as possible. Why are the police trying to hide rather than make themselves visible? It's because they would rather make an arrest than help someone in an emergency. It's what they do.

jafs 5 years, 4 months ago

The courts (and I believe the Supreme Court) have come to the conclusion that 4th amendment protections are weaker when driving than when in one's house.

It's an interesting argument - I can see both sides.

Drunk driving is a difficult topic for a few reasons:

  1. So many people seem to do it.
  2. It is extremely dangerous.
  3. If you haven't injured anyone, it can be argued that it shouldn't even be a crime - are there any other activities that are illegal simply because they pose some risk of injury to oneself or others?

jfmrn 5 years, 4 months ago

All you folks who think dui check points should be illegal have never had to bury your only daughter because she was hit and killed by a drunk driver. Drunk driving is a choice people make thinking they won't have a wreck or get caught. Well guess what, I never thought I would have to bury a child either but it doesn't always happen to the other person, sometimes it happens to you. I wish law enforcement could catch every single one of the drunks on the highway because I am sharing the road with them. Keep up the good work lawmen !

BorderRuffian 5 years, 4 months ago

lgreen17 (Anonymous) says…

"How much $$ does Buttler make an hour? How much did that BAC cost? Those were three VERY expensive arrests!! (I'm not saying you shouldn't arrest people for DUI, it's just the high cost of finding three drunk people is pretty shocking.)"

To Igreen17 and all you others who stand so high on your moral high-horse: Bah Humbug on all of you wanna-be lawyers. And shame on you. You want to find all sorts of arguments about the high cost of arresting drunken drivers, and about the supposed violation of rights. What's the matter with you? You express so much moral outrage against the attempts (and cost) of law enforcement to deter or detain those who are driving under the influence of alcohol - or worse.

Yet, which of you has lost a son or daughter, a friend or relative, to someone driving drunk? How much would you pay to have your loved one back and in one-piece?

And what gives you or anyone else the right to drink or imbibe to your heart's content, then go out and inflict your irresponsible actions on the rest of us? Shame on you, again! Your personal rights ended when you chose to act irresponsibly. Your rights ended when they began to impact mine.

YOU DO NOT have a constitutional right to endanger me or anyone else, just because you choose to do irresponsible and reprehensible acts. What arrogance.

So many of you choose arguments that seemingly bolster your "right" to act irresponsibly and negligently, denying accountability or the rights of others.

What "right" gives YOU the right to endanger someone else?

compmd 5 years, 4 months ago

randysavage,

Quote the constitution all you want, it doesn't make you smart or right. The Supreme Court has already decided on the legality of DUI checkpoints and found properly conducted checkpoints to be legal (Michigan State Police v Sitz, 1990). However, this does not stop any particular state from declaring DUI checkpoints illegal within the state. Kansas is one of the majority where DUI checkpoints are legal.

jafs,

The Court found that protecting public safety outweighed the 4th Amendment protections.

If anyone is worried about the cost of a DUI, then look at the cost of defending a DUI charge at trial, not the administrative/testing costs. I'd like to see any one of you successfully defend yourselves without spending $10k.

Kansas DUI laws still have no teeth. Fines are a joke, nothing less than imprisonment is acceptable. Illinois has a pretty good system for dealing with drunk drivers, but its not perfect.

hawkfan_05 5 years, 4 months ago

We all agree on the social contracts of our cities and this Country. One of those is that we do not break the law. The law in this case is you cannot opperate a car when you have been drinking. It is that simple. People are not socially allowed to be angry when you get CAUGHT for breaking the law! How dumb a society are we to be mad when we get caught for doing illegal acts? I was arrested for a DUI. I fought the case. I won. That was my right. Just like the cops right to pull me over. I was mad at myself for being an idiot and driving down a main road when I had been drinking. I knew better. I wasn't mad at the cop or the system for finding me.

Daniel Davidson 5 years, 4 months ago

Everyon needs to lay off of officer Buttler. She is a mom just like about half of the readers. She is doing her best to make a change for all of us. In my opinion it doesnt matter one bit what she is paid. If she can take the time away from her familey to try and make the change which we are all scared to step up and make ourselves we should pay her more.

bearded_gnome 5 years, 4 months ago

hey law enforcement agencies: * from the title of your program and this article, I thought this had something to do with the drug "X." "rave" has another meaning! find a new akronym!


Kansas DUI laws still have no teeth. Fines are a joke, nothing less than imprisonment is acceptable. Illinois has a pretty good system for dealing with drunk drivers, but its not perfect.

---Compmd is right.
an, I know it used to be so in Bulgaria, if you got a second DUI, you got a firing squad! not a bad plan! [note, my father died a DUI and nearly killed three touristas from Illinois].


Good job Nota, keep up the good work fella!

Mandie Eutsler 5 years, 4 months ago

labmonkey says..... "Arrest the texters. If they see a driver with a little screen in front of their face, they should be pulled over."

people shouldn't use the phone at all while driving. it's not smart. There's already a law about stuff like that, inattentive driving. however, if you start making laws against distractions while driving, that's quite a list. drive thrus, children in car, t.v.s, gps navigation equipment, cb radios, i-pods etc...

Jonathan Becker 5 years, 4 months ago

The Fourth Amendment protections turn on the concept of 'expectation of privacy' (US v. Katz). The Supreme Court determined a long time ago (so long, I have forgotten the case), that a person in a automobile does not have an expectation of privacy. You also don't have an expectation of privacy when you are under arrest, when you consent to a search, and in exigent circumstances, i.e. you cannot rob a bank, be chased by the cops to your house and then claim they cannot enter without a search warrant.

DUI roadblocks have been declared constitutional. In Michigan Dept. of State Police v. Sitz, 496 U.S. 444 (1990), on a 6-3 vote, the Court said DUI roadblocks met the 4th Amendment standard of "reasonable search and seizure."

Ironically, some states have said the state constitution provides a higher level of protection than the federal constitution and DUI roadblocks are not constitutional. One such state that said so is Michigan, after Stitz.

And now for something entirely different, but back on track of this story.

The point of RAVE units is not the arrest count. This story is part of the effect: To raise awareness that random street patrols can be used to ferret out drunk drivers. USC Highway Traffic Program has concluded that only 5% of all the drunk drivers that are out on the road are stopped and arrested. If we extrapolate the numbers, for the 3 who were arrested, there were 57 other drunk drivers out on the road during that time. Who wants to drive when there are 57 drunks still out there?

There are a number of elements -- drunk driving, cell phone use, texting, rambunctious kids needing discipline in the back seat -- that make for driving while distracted. How many can we criminalize?. Drunk driving is a crime, yet stats say 60 did it during a RAVE period this weekend. For a town with a fine sense of smartness, we sure do appear to be the stupids.

MIke Mallory 5 years, 4 months ago

I WILL GIVE YOU A BIG FAT THANK YOU, ALL YOU DRUNK DRIVERS ARE IDIOTS.

Glen Moore 5 years, 4 months ago

"cheeseburger (Anonymous) says…

You people attempting to defend your 'right' to drive drunk make me nauseous. It's people like you that prompt all the incessant laws, because you can't think and act reasonably and responsibly on your own!

dadof3 - I hope your offspring grow up with a lot more common sense than you have, but sadly, the apple probably won't fall far from the tree." @cheeseburger, 2 of my 4 kids that are in school are top of the class :) and the thought process of posting 1 whole team of law enforcment agents (police officers in case you are unsure of the meaning) in 1 spot looking for drunk drivers is insane. If the police would do the job assigned to them then maybe they would not have to create a gang of officers and call it RAVE to catch the bad guys. BTW don't go to Wayne and Larry's and look for the blond male officer I see getting hammered in there on the weekends then driving home. He might be part of the RAVE.

Common sense.... Drunk driving, text messaging while driving, both of these are just as dangrous as the other with one exception... 1 is legal and the other isn't. So my previous statment of the texting while driving... common scense.... The Officer that stole from target.... common scense. Cheeseburger, get bent and hope you dont get hit by a police officer that is texting while driving!

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