In 1993 the Ohio Department of Public Safety (ODPS) targeted Franklin County, Ohio for the first ever county-wide DUI Task Force in the state of Ohio. This was based upon the number of alcohol related traffic crash deaths which occurred in the pervious year. Twenty-one fatalities ranked Franklin County second highest in the state of Ohio that year.
Franklin County has a population of 1.5 million residences and is 543 square miles. Over a million vehicles are registered in the county. Currently there are over 500 habitual offenders (five or more DUI convictions) living in Franklin County.
The Franklin County DUI Task Force was formed to identify and assess the impaired driving problem in Franklin County and to develop an action plan that incorporates both enforcement and education to address the problem.
Over the past years the Task Force has developed highly visible enforcement activities in the form of sobriety checkpoints and county-wide DUI patrols. We understand that enforcement activities when associated with holidays or special events are a great deterrent to drinking and driving.
The Ohio Department of Public Safety (ODPS) and Ohio Traffic Safety Office, utilizes federal grant money to fund the county wide task force.
Currently the Task Force is made of all 31 law enforcement agencies and six support groups such as, MADD, Franklin Co. Municipal Court, Franklin Co. Engineer's Office and Traffic and Public Safety organizations.
Enforcement is only part of the Task Force activities. Members have included awareness campaign activities as part of their overall DUI program. The Task force developed and distributed several posters.
Task Force members have also donated time to help set up and operate "mock" crashes and checkpoints for such events as Ohio Lifesaver Conference and to kickoff National Sobriety Checkpoint week and You Drink, You Drive, You Lose activities for the past several years.
Task Force members have also worked with both Franklin County and State of Ohio MADD, in Red Ribbon campaign, distributing over 50,000 ribbons and participating in the local candle light vigil.
Member agencies also conduct media events throughout the year. In March the annual "kick-off" event is conducted. Events are also held in connection with the What's Holding You Back and the Over the Limit, Under Arrest campaigns.
Since 1993 the Task Force members have conducted 100 sobriety checkpoints. This has resulted in over 124,000 vehicles passing through the check zones, of those vehicles Officers checked a total of 55,930 drivers and of those drivers checked 6,038 drivers were diverted for further investigations. This resulted in a total of 471 DUI arrests and over 2,500 citations were issued. 147 people were arrested on outstanding warrants, 88 people charged with open containers, and nearly 300 individuals were arrested for other violation including, stolen vehicles, weapons, drugs and open container violations.
Task Force member agencies have conducted DUI Patrols. The patrols are conducted in connection with holidays and special events. Since 1993 over 30,000 hours of overtime enforcement has been conducted. Officers have made nearly 40,000 traffic stops which have resulted in 2,117 DUI arrests (233 under the age of 21) and over 15,500 traffic citations. Officers also made over 144 felony arrests and issued over 15,500 traffic warnings.
In comparing 2008 to 2009, Franklin County has seen a 6% reduction in alcohol related traffic crashes, a 25% reduction in alcohol related deaths, and a 16% reductions in injuries/ During the same time, we have seen a 8% increase in DUI arrests in Franklin County.
The success of the Task Force is largely due to the cooperation between its members in the area of personnel, budget and other resources. When the Task Force is conduct enforcement activities all the agencies faithfully assisted one another to insure the checkpoint are safe and the saturation patrols are a success.
The efforts of the DUI Task Force have not gone unnoticed. The Task Force has received:
- Franklin County MADD Community Service Award
- Ohio Department of Public Safety Governor's Award
- National Chief of Police Challenge
- Bexley Police
- Blendon Township Police
- Brice Police
- Clinton Township Police
- Columbus Airport Police
- Columbus Public Health
- Columbus Police Department
- Dublin Police
- Franklin County Engineer's Office
- Franklin County Municipal Court
- Franklin County Safe Communities
- Franklin County Sheriff's Office
- Franklin Township Police
- Gahanna Police
- Grandview Heights Police
- Grant Medical Center Injury Prevention
- Grove City Police
- Groveport Police
- Harrisburg Police
- Hilliard Police
- Madison Township Police
- Mifflin Township Police
- Minerva Park Police
- New Albany Police
- Obetz Police
- Ohio Department of Public Safety
- Ohio Hispanic Coalition
- Ohio Investigative Unit
- Ohio State Highway Patrol
- Ohio State University Police
- Perry Township Police
- Reynoldsburg Police
- Sharon Township Police
- Upper Arlington Police
- Valleyview Police
- Westerville Police
- Whitehall Police
- Worthington Police