In Tough Times, the Kansas City, Missouri Police Department DUI Unit is Exceeding Expectations
By: Bill Sullivan
NHTSA Law Enforcement Liaison, Region 7
During fiscal year 2019, the Kansas City Missouri Police Department DUI Unit made 536 DUI arrests. While this number was impressive, the 6 officers in the unit and their supervisor, Sergeant Corey Carlisle, thought they could do better. In October of 2019 they decided to have a unit goal of taking 1,000 impaired drivers off the streets of Kansas City. At this time, no one was aware that a few months later there would be a world-wide pandemic and a time of social unrest.
When the Covid pandemic began, the Kansas City Police Department, like most law enforcement agencies, made a decision to make little or no self-initiated contact with the public unless it was an emergency. For two months the DUI Unit made few self-initiated traffic stop contacts. After a few weeks of little or no self-initiated activity, the DUI Unit saw a large increase in impaired driving crashes. The decision was made to begin making self-initiated traffic stops again, with the goal of getting impaired drivers off the streets. The unit took additional safety precautions in how they did their job. They wore Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), and tried to keep social distancing when it was possible. According to Sergeant Carlisle, “no one would have said anything if we had just shut down completely, our guys are just not wired that way; I am so proud of them”.
Soon after the DUI Unit started conducting pro-active enforcement, Kansas City, like most urban areas, experienced a period of public protests and social unrest. Once again, the DUI Unit was unable to conduct impaired driving enforcement as they were re-assigned to help work these protests.
Sergeant Carlisle prepares the machine for a breath test.
After several weeks of reassignment, the unit went back to their new “normal” operations. In spite of the many challenges the officers had faced, by the end of fiscal year 2020, the DUI unit had exceeded their goal and had made 1,046 impaired driving arrests! The officers of the Kansas City, Missouri Police Department DUI Unit are true heroes, dedicated to making the streets safer for the traveling public.
The Kansas City Missouri Police Department DUI Unit