DA's Office Presents $475,000 to HPD for Revolutionary Advance in Fight
Against Intoxicated Drivers
Harris County District Attorney Patricia Lykos today provided the Houston Police Department with nearly half a million dollars to purchase testing and evidence-documentation equipment to revolutionize local law enforcement's fight against intoxicated drivers.
The $475,000 grant triples the number of permanently-based Intoxilyzer breath-alcohol testing instruments in use by HPD, while entirely digitizing the video and audio recording of test procedures and results. There is no cost to taxpayers, as the initiative is paid for with money captured through the District Attorney's successful prosecution of criminal enterprises.
"Impaired drivers threaten every law-abiding citizen in our community, causing carnage on our roadways, killing scores of innocent people each year, and inflicting immeasurable pain on their surviving loved ones," said District Attorney Lykos. "My office will continue to do whatever it takes so that officers on the street have the tools they need to effectively remove intoxicated drivers from our roadways and keep our communities safe," Lykos continued.
Supervision of the equipment will be provided by the Texas Department of Public Safety. A memorandum of understanding reached last October between the District Attorney's Office and local law enforcement agencies allows officers from different jurisdictions to use any instrument supervised by DPS to conduct an intoxication test. For example, a deputy or a HPD officer may use the breathalyzer located at the Bellaire Police Department, or a Constable or Sheriff's deputy can use an HPD machine.
Together these reforms produce a force-multiplier effect of benefits for law enforcement and taxpayers-
. Additional units allow officers to more conveniently conduct impaired-driving tests at a location closer to the scene of a traffic stop or accident, providing the best evidence.
. Increased proximity, expanded capacity and the flexibility now possible through DPS-supervision reduces testing turnaround time and quickly put officers back on patrol.
. Digitally-recording all tests increases transparency, accountability and public trust, while also giving prosecutors almost immediate access to evidence and results, at lower cost.