Cracking Down

Naperville Police are cracking down on drunk drivers. Naperville ranks second in the state for the number of Driving Under the Influence, or DUI arrests, according to a recent study conducted by the Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists. In 2010, Naperville police had 671 arrests, just 56 under the City of Rockford.

The study does not count the City of Chicago.

Officer Tim Boogerd has one of the highest numbers of DUI arrests in the department. He says the Naperville nightlife is one of the contributing factors for the high numbers.

“We have a large concentrated area of bars in the downtown area and it’s become a hotspot for some of the local suburbs,” said Officer Boogerd. “People come to Naperville to spend their money and have a good time and they have to drive away and that’s when we catch them.”

He also says that Naperville having a lower crime rate than many cities allows police to focus on drunk drivers.

“We stay pretty busy Friday and Saturday night, but as things start to slow down later in the night a lot of us will switch modes to DUI enforcement,” said Officer Boogerd. “It helps that we don’t have a lot of violent crime and we can focus more on traffic safety.”

There are many signs that police look for before pulling a vehicle over, such as weaving, hitting objects, speeding or even driving too slow. Police then look for symptoms of alcohol after pulling the driver over.

“Some of the common things are bloodshot and glassy eyes, if their speech is slurred, if they have stuff on their clothing,” said Officer Boogerd. “The odor of alcoholic beverage is another indication. Sometimes we will ask a driver if they have been drinking and they will say ‘Yes I was at X bar and had so many drinks.’”

If police suspect the driver of being over the legal limit of .08 they could ask the driver to step out of the car and perform a few field sobriety tests. There are three main tests, the horizontal gaze and nystagmus test, or eye test.

“There’s really nothing you can try to do to pass it,” said Officer Boogerd. “Your eyes react a certain way to alcohol, and we’re looking for some of those signs in your eyes.”

The walk and turn test and the one leg stand are the other two popular tests. Each of those is based on a point system.

“We take into consideration if you say ‘I’m a clumsy person,’” said Officer Boogerd. “If you get three points and some of your other tests are pretty good, then maybe you’ll pass. So we kind of take into the totality of all the circumstances, how’s your driving, how’s your test, do you exhibit signs and symptoms?”

After all the tests, police may have you blow into a portable Breathalyzer to test your alcohol limit before taking you to the police station.

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