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PHOTOS: On patrol with Anchorage police, DWI suspect nabbed

Officer Block with the Anchorage Police Department pulls over a suspected drunk driver. Drunk driving is a major problem in Alaska's largest city. Nov 2, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
Anchorage police investigate a possible drunk driver. Nov 2, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
Officer Block with the Anchorage Police Department conducts a field sobriety test on a suspected drunk driver. Drunk driving is a major problem in Alaska's largest city. Nov 2, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
Officer Block with the Anchorage Police Department conducts a field sobriety test on a suspected drunk driver. Drunk driving is a major problem in Alaska's largest city. Nov 2, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
Officer Block with the Anchorage Police Department conducts a field sobriety test on a suspected drunk driver. Drunk driving is a major problem in Alaska's largest city. Nov 2, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
Officer Block with the Anchorage Police Department conducts a field sobriety test on a suspected drunk driver. Drunk driving is a major problem in Alaska's largest city. Nov 2, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
Anchorage police perform a field sobriety test during a suspected drunk driving stop. Nov 2, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
Officer Block with the Anchorage Police Department conducts a field sobriety test on a suspected drunk driver. Drunk driving is a major problem in Alaska's largest city. Nov 2, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
Officer Block with the Anchorage Police Department conducts a field sobriety test on a suspected drunk driver. Drunk driving is a major problem in Alaska's largest city. Nov 2, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
Officer Block with the Anchorage Police Department arrests a suspected drunk driver. Drunk driving is a major problem in Alaska's largest city. Nov 2, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
After failing a field sobriety test, the suspected drunk driver's truck is towed. Drunk driving is a major problem in Alaska's largest city. Nov 2, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
Anchorage police arrest a man for suspected drunk driving. Nov 2, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
Officer Block writes a report after arresting a suspected drunk driver. Nov 2, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
Loren Holmes

Three months ago, Anchorage Police Chief Mark Mew announced a program to crack down on drunk driving with the help of citizen volunteers consisting of Anchorage Citizen Police Academy alumni. So far, it's worked. About 10 volunteer duos hit the city streets every weekend, calling in reports of drivers who may be intoxicated, following the culprits and backing off when police arrive. Their efforts have nabbed 23 drunk drivers as of mid-November, and there hasn't been a death caused by a drunk driver since the program began. 

“We had to do something,” Police Chief Mark Mew said. “We had to do something fast.”

As of mid-August, 1,049 drivers had been arrested for getting behind the wheel drunk so far this year. Mew said with the help of the volunteers the annual total may increase for the first time in years. A steady rise in OUI arrests juxtaposed against the gradual decline in deaths was a great trend for his department, Mew said. 

Other unsung heroes in the fight against impaired driving may be everyday, concerned citizens. Drivers calling in suspected drunk drivers have resulted in more than 150 arrests, and that’s just from the start of the volunteer force.