Don’t Drink and Drive is an axiom often heard, but not as often listened to.

An unremarked upon line in the Sylvania Township police department’s monthly report has some information which might cause some drivers to heed that statement.

In the first two months of this year, township police have issued 26 drunk driving citations. In the first two months last year, department officers had issued four citations against drunk drivers.

Paul Long, police chief, said on the one-year anniversary of becoming chief, that the increase is not due to any specific direction he has given, but perhaps his overall message that uniformed officers on patrol should always be proactive.

If there’s probable cause to stop a motorist, that stop could result in identifying a possible suspect in a burglary, possibly someone involved in drugs and maybe a drunk driver. It could also be a community resident who created a minor infraction.

“If so, maybe give him a warning, thank him for the cooperation and that’s that.”

He stressed he is not looking for an intrusive police presence, but for officers to be active when it is called for.

He noted that he has gone to shift-change, when the officers are assembled, and mentioned to them, among other things, “that we all know there are drunk drivers in our township right now.”

For all of that, he reiterated that the increase isn’t due to him.  Sometimes it’s just luck, bad for the driver, good for society when a drunk driver turns a corner and suddenly finds he’s now being followed by a police car.  Other times the turn is taken a block sooner or later and the officers are never aware of the drunk driver. Chief Long added that he gets irritated when he hears members of the public refer to drunk driving as a somehow lesser offense.

“To me, it’s a serious crime, people get killed. Don’t tell me it was an accident.  The driver had too much to drink and then decided to get behind the wheel.  It’s serious.”

The numbers suggest the department as a whole agrees.


Written by: Mike Jones, Public Information Officer

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