Six OWI Task Forces Deploying on Thanksgiving Eve

OWI drunk driving stop

BROWN COUNTY, Wis (WBAY) — You can expect to see a lot more squad cars and police on the roads if you’re heading out Wednesday, on what’s often a dangerous night of drinking and driving.

Law enforcement agencies across Northeast Wisconsin will be out in masses patrolling for drunk drivers.

Brown, Manitowoc, Marinette, Sheboygan, Langlade and Waupaca Counties will all have OWI task forces working Wednesday night.

History points to the need for those extra patrols on the night before Thanksgiving.

It’s no secret the roads will be busier Wednesday night than any other time of the year, making the work of OWI task forces that much more critical.

“Tonight is a dangerous mix in the sense that you’ve got a lot of people coming and going. People who are from out of town, people who are visiting combined with drunk drivers, deer hunting, the whole nine yards,” says Mike Panosh, OWI Task Force program manager.

This year, task forces will spread out in six counties across Northeast Wisconsin, from metropolitan areas to rural communities, an “in your face” sort of deployment to remind people to find a designated driver.

This, after a record-tying night on last year’s Thanksgiving eve in Brown County, when the task force made 10 OWI arrests in just a few hours.

And in many cases, the blood alcohol levels of drunk drivers average twice the legal limit, or more.

“These are people that are severely intoxicated. This is not one or two beers, having a good time watching the parade. These are people that have been drinking for quite some time… drinking very heavily and pose a significant danger, not just to themselves, but to the public at large,” says Panosh.

And the deployments will continue, with more happening in Green Bay over the weekend and beyond.

Law enforcement in the six counties are receiving more than a half million dollars in grants to fund OWI patrols for a year.

“The bottom line is we want people to make a plan, choose a designated driver and take a taxi, because there’s no Thanksgiving turkey and stuffing in jail on Thanksgiving morning. So make the right choice and enjoy the holiday with your family,” adds Panosh.