Updated April 4, 2019 - 6:42 pm
The multi-agency Las Vegas DUI Strike Team arrested 500 people suspected of impaired driving since its inception just over five months ago, officials announced Thursday.
The DUI Strike Team, made up of Metropolitan Police Department officers and Nevada Highway Patrol troopers, started patrolling Oct. 24, solely looking to arrest impaired drivers.
The team hit the 500 mark on March 26, said Andrew Bennett, a spokesman for the state Office of Traffic Safety, at a news conference Thursday. The team started with four Metro officers and three troopers and has since added two officers.
Officials at the news conference said the 500 arrests represent 500 lives that potentially were saved by removing impaired drivers from the road.
“There is nothing more difficult in law enforcement than to notify a person they have lost their loved one,” Highway Patrol Capt. Charles Haycox said. “This team is preventing traumatic news from coming into your homes.”
Bennett said that because of drug testing, it’s not yet clear how many arrests were for drivers who were high versus drivers who were drunk.
“I can say confidently that we’re looking at it almost being 50-50 when it comes to marijuana and other drugs compared to alcohol,” he said.
If the team maintains a rate of about 100 arrests a month, it will account for about 10 percent of all DUI arrests across Nevada in 2019, he said.
“With the flexibility of being able to shift this team for events like the Super Bowl and New Year’s Eve, we’re out there during peak times,” he said. “We expect to continue at this pace.”