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.