Dallas County DWI Task Force to Operate Without Breathalyzer Trailer - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Dallas County DWI Task Force to Operate Without Breathalyzer Trailer

Investigation looking at whether county employees falsified time sheets



    A scandal over overtime has sidelined the Breathalyzer trailer used in Dallas County during past holiday drunken driving crackdowns.

    A $350,000 grant of federal money from the state that was due Oct. 1 was withheld because of an investigation into possible past misuse.

    Sheriff Lupe Valdez said her investigators discovered possible ticket-writing irregularities and reported it to the state.

    The trailer posted beside busy roadways allows officers to rapidly process drunken-driving suspects and return to the road to look for more.

    Why You Won't See the Drunk Trailer

    [DFW] Why You Won't See the Drunk Trailer
    You won't see this breathalizer trailer on the road this weekend because of an internal investigation over the misuse of grant money.
    (Published Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2011)

    Deputies paid with overtime from the grant money operated the trailer in the past.

    But the sheriff has no funding for deputies to operate the Breathalyzer trailer at least through the Thanksgiving holiday.

    "That doesn't mean that we won't be out there," Valdez said. "It means perhaps there won't be as many. But we will be out there. And we're currently working to get other money to be able to go ahead and double up during the whole month of December."

    The sheriff spoke at the Irving Convention Center on Tuesday about the launch of a task force crackdown on holiday drunken driving. The effort involves 45 Dallas County police and community agencies.

    DWI victims and offenders also spoke about past tragedies.

    "We're cut short of what we want to do, but we're not stopping,” Valdez said.

    Dallas County traffic enforcement deputies routinely patrol a portion of the freeway system.

    With the grant money, the traffic deputies increased DWI enforcement, speeding and seatbelt enforcement.

    The sheriff's department also operates the jail where offenders caught by many agencies are booked.

    When it is in use, the Breathalyzer trailer serves as a remote booking site for DWI suspects.

    The ticket-writing investigation is ongoing. So far, no deputies have been accused of any crimes.

    If and when they are, they will be dealt with accordingly, Valdez said.

    "The proper action will be taken," she said.