Police officers around Tarrant County are planning to be out in force this weekend on the lookout for drunken drivers and they won't be taking "no" for an answer.
Twenty-one Tarrant County law enforcement agencies will take part in a "no-refusal" DWI campaign over the Fourth of July weekend. Similar programs are expected statewide.
"We have a DWI epidemic in this state," said Richard Alpert, Tarrant County assistant criminal district attorney. His office prosecutes about 6,000 DWI cases a year, he said.
During the crackdowns, officers obtain search warrants to draw blood from suspected drunken drivers who refuse to blow into a breath-test machine. The blood is then analyzed to determine whether the driver's blood-alcohol concentration is higher than 0.08, the legal limit for driving in Texas.
The show of force is a marked contrast from earlier this year, when just a handful of agencies were conducting "no-refusal" campaigns during certain periods such as New Years' weekend and the night of the Super Bowl.
Alpert said he hopes that the program will act as a deterrent, persuading people to avoid driving while intoxicated because they know that police officers will be conducting sobriety testing with or without drivers' consent.
"If we have no arrests, no drunk drivers on the roadway, this program will be successful," Alpert said.
The participating agencies in the program include police departments in Azle, Arlington, Bedford, Burleson, Dalworthington Gardens, Euless, Fort Worth, Grand Prairie, Grapevine, Hurst, Kennedale, Mansfield, North Richland Hills, Saginaw, Sansom Park, Watauga, Westover Hills, Westworth Village, the Tarrant County Sheriff's Department and Department of Public Safety officers from Southlake and D/FW Airport.