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The Arresting Officer

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Lack of knowledge concerning the relationship between alcohol and intoxication is widespread among police officers and imparts a negative influence on alcohol-related enforcement. Most officers underestimate — often by a wide margin — the amount of alcohol a suspect would have to consume in order to achieve the statutory limit of blood alcohol concentration. This seems to induce a tendency among officers to identify and sympathize with the suspects they encounter.

Specialized training has a strong positive influence on alcohol-related arrests. Patrolmen who have received instruction in the operation of breath testing devices and/or in alcohol-related enforcement — particularly in municipal departments — were found to lack this specialized training.

Specialization in duty assignment can also enhance alcohol-related enforcement. Patrolmen assigned to traffic divisions, in particular, produce higher arrest rates than those charged with general patrol duties...

Near the end of the duty shift, alcohol-related investigations decrease substantially. This is particularly true in departments that have adopted relatively time-consuming procedures for processing alcohol-related arrests...

Weather conditions also effect alcohol-related arrests. There is encouraging evidence that foul weather has a positive influence on the attitude of many officers: they are more appreciative of the risk posed by an alcohol-related suspect when driving conditions are hazardous, and are less likely to avoid the arrest when those conditions prevail...

The suspect's attitude can have a strong influence on the arrest/no arrest decision. If the suspect proves uncooperative or argumentative, a positive influence for arrest results. Conversely, the likelihood of arrest decreases when the suspect seems cooperative.