Police Club Creates Competition for Connecticut DWI Arrests

Connecticut State Police troopers on the midnight shift at the Bethany barracks played a perverse game. In an ‘open competition’ they attempted to become members of the “100 Club”, marked by making 100 Connecticut DWI arrests during a year. Rules, police procedures, and whether a motorist was actually legally drunk didn’t matter.

Police involved in the game either mishandled or failed to collect evidence. They went against police procedure and only videotaped 14 of the 500 drunk driving arrests made during 2003. They even recommended that motorists not take breath tests, warning suspected DWI offenders that they would spend more time in police lockup if they elected to exercise their constitutional rights.

In addition, paperwork was filed late, probable cause for many DWI arrests was not established and inconsistencies in the administration and handling of tests used to determine a DWI suspect’s blood alcohol content.

In 2003 troopers from Bethany barracks were awarded a citation for the most DWI arrests in a four state district. At the same time, those arrested for suspicion of DWI in the Bethany area were telling prosecutors that state troopers were advising them not to submit to a breathalyzer test, even if the motorist felt it could prove they were not legally intoxicated.

Though the improprieties were unveiled through routine checks, a recent report slams police internal affairs for not having conducted a more thorough investigation of Connecticut DWI arrest procedures. The report states that the 100 Club “had the most direct result on members of the general public.” It expressed concerns for the rights of the DWI suspects and the impact that the misconduct may have had on DWI convictions.

The Connecticut Chief State’s Attorney and Attorney General said they would review drunk driving cases in the 14 towns policed by the Bethany barracks. Connecticut DWI defense attorneys are planning legal challenges for their DWI clients.

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