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State, County Officials Honor Bucks DUI Task Force

May 11, 2018

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Matthew D. Weintraub, 215.348.6344, mdweintraub@buckscounty.org
      

PoliceMemorialDayProc_edited
(l-r) Commissioner Charles Martin, Lt. Robert 
Bugsch, Sgt. Glen Gottenberg and L.E. Training
Director Richard Vona

Bucks County’s DUI Task Force – the oldest countywide impaired driving enforcement program in Pennsylvania – has been honored in recent weeks on both the state and county levels.

On April 5, the task force received the 2018 Highway Safety Leadership Award from the Pennsylvania Highway Safety Office.

It was presented at the general session of the Traffic Safety Conference in State College to Richard Vona, Bucks County’s Director of Law Enforcement Training; Lt. Robert Bugsch of the Bensalem Township Police Department; and Sgt. Glen Gottenberg of the Warrington Township Police Department, all of whom provide leadership to the task force.

The award was given in recognition of the organization, vision, implementation and effectiveness of the task force’s countywide safety program, which enables trained police officers from departments throughout the county to work together on details such as roving DUI patrols and DUI checkpoints.

Last week, the Bucks County Commissioners declared May 2 as “DUI Task Force Day” throughout the county in recognition of the task force’s accomplishments. 

“This would not have been possible without the leadership of Lt. Bugsch, Sgt. Gottenberg, and Director of Law Enforcement Training Rich Vona,” District Attorney Matthew D. Weintraub said. “Because of their dedication to this program, the citizens of Bucks County are safer.”

Bucks County’s DUI Task Force was formed in 1993, and in 2016 added aggressive driving and vehicle occupant safety as areas of enforcement. Its work today is funded largely with Impaired Driving Program grants through the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, as well as a Police Traffic Services grant.

The task force’s mission remains vital today, as Bucks County prosecuted 3,369 persons in 2016 for DUI, a 25 percent increase from 2015. One reason for the increase is the growing number of drivers prosecuted for drug-related impairment or a combination of alcohol and drug impairment.

A measure of success can be seen in the declining number of alcohol-related crashes in the county. Bucks County reported 458 such crashes in 2016, a decrease of 4 percent from 2015.

The number of drug-related crashes, however, increased from 78 in 2015 to 99 in 2016, while drug-related DUI crashes rose from 204 to 225.

To combat these offenses and raise public awareness of the dangers of impaired driving, the task force regularly conducts enhanced roving patrols on high-traffic corridors, as well as DUI checkpoints, typically utilizing up to 25 officers from 10 or more departments.

Among the most successful recent details were a roving patrol last Thanksgiving Eve along the Street Road corridor, and a St. Patrick’s Day DUI checkpoint on Route 611. The roving patrol resulted in 20 arrests, while the checkpoint snared 12 persons for DUI and drug offenses. 

In addition to the field work, the task force has hosted 20 trainings for almost 450 officers over the past year in the area of impaired driving enforcement.

"I have witnessed firsthand the effectiveness of this countywide safety program," Weintraub said, "which allows law enforcement officers from all across Bucks County to work together in protecting the public from impaired drivers on the busiest and deadliest driving days of the year.”

Office of the District Attorney
Bucks County Justice Center
100 N. Main Street
Doylestown, PA 18901 
Phone: 215-348-6344 
Fax: 215-348-6299

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