Dane Co. proposing daily testing in alcohol-related offenses - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Dane Co. proposing daily testing of those with alcohol-related offenses

MADISON (WKOW) -- Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announced Thursday morning that his 2014 budget will include a unique pilot program. Parisi says the program, which is the first of its kind in Wisconsin, will provide intensive, daily alcohol testing for people who commit alcohol-related offenses, including drunk driving or domestic violence offenses. 
"Drunk driving and domestic violence offenses take an incredible toll on victims, their families, and our communities," Parisi said in a written statement.  "This first-in-Wisconsin effort will make offenders more accountable and has been shown to reduce repeat DUI arrests."
Parisi is calling the program "Accountability 24-7".
Offenders sentenced to the program would have to appear twice a day at a designated time for a mandatory Breathalyzer test. If an offender fails a test, they would go to Dane County jail and have to appear before a judge. 
The pilot program will be able to test up to 100 people twice daily in its first year.
A study in the American Journal of Public Health looked at a 24/7 program in South Dakota. Researchers there documented a 12% reduction in repeat DUI arrests and a 9% reduction in domestic violence arrests at the county level, following adoption of the program.  The report also showed a decline in traffic crashes involving men ages 18 to 40.
After a year, officials will evaluate potential expansion of the program to include additional law enforcement agencies in the county.
The County Executive's budget includes $25,000 to run the pilot program for six months, but the program is projected to be nearly self-sufficient since the tests will cost the offenders $4 a day. 
"The Dane County Sheriff's Office has long been a leader in efforts to stop Domestic Violence and Drinking and Driving.  This pilot program will give us the tools to hold offenders more accountable with measurable results," said Dane County Sheriff Dave Mahoney in a written news release.  "Alcohol plays a significant role in many of our Domestic Violence cases, and we've all seen the stories of drivers arrested for their 6th, 7th, or 8th OWI, who continue to get behind the wheel. 
The Safe Communities Coalition will coordinate implementation of the program. 
County Executive Parisi will introduce his 2014 budget to the Dane County Board next Tuesday, October 1.
Hear more about this pilot program in 27 News at 6 Thursday night.
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