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Officers learn how to better prosecute DWI cases

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DWI enforcement on North Texas highways received a boost last week as 87 officers from 39 area law enforcement agencies completed a three-day DWI Investigation and Prosecution course at the Denton County Sheriff’s Office sponsored by the Denton County District Attorney’s Office.

The class, instructed by Ryan Calvert, District Attorney Felony Prosecutor, and Brent Robbins, Investigative Supervisor for the DA’s office, taught the officers to write better DWI reports, review new laws that affect DWI cases, and learn the elements of successful DWI prosecution so that district attorneys can obtain more convictions to get drunk and impaired drivers off the streets. It was held from Nov. 30 through Dec. 2.

“This is the fourth year we’ve held the class, which began in 2007 as a four-hour seminar,” said Lieutenant Lin Jones, officer training supervisor for the Sheriff’s Office. “Denton County is becoming known as a leader in DWI enforcement because of this yearly class, and it also spreads the word that drunk driving will not be tolerated on North Texas streets and highways.”

The last day of the class the students attended a mock DWI trial at the Denton County Courts Building on E. McKinney St. in which some of the officers acted as arresting officers and members of the jury to learn how to testify more effectively in court.

Denton County Sheriff Benny Parkey presented certificates of appreciation to Calvert and Robbins for their work in organizing and instructing the class.

“They have put a lot of time and their hearts into developing this class to find out what works and what doesn’t work,” Sheriff Parkey said. “DWI is a life and death issue, and it is absolutely critical to get drunk drivers off the streets so they can get the help or the jail time they need.”

One death is caused by a drunk driver every 45 minutes in the United States, half of them teenagers. Studies indicate that traffic increases during holidays, with a subsequent rise in accidents and fatalities.

“Few events are more tragic than a family losing a loved one, especially during a holiday season,” Sheriff Parkey said. “With the increase in population and more drivers on the highways, DWI laws have become more important to public safety, so having more well-trained officers is even more critical to keep the highways safe during the holiday season.”

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