BETH YOUNG PHOTO | Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota speaks at a press conference Friday at the U.S. Coast Guard Station in Hampton Bays.
The Suffolk County East End DWI Task Force plans to expand its mission to cover Boating While Intoxicated crimes next summer, after a successful inaugural summer of DWI checkpoints on the East End.
Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota announced the effort at a press conference at the U.S. Coast Guard station in Hampton Bays Friday afternoon.
“We just the other day decided the time had come when we had to do this,” said Mr. Spota, who said he had just recently been involved in the indictment of a man who killed a father of two when he was in a waterway channel going the wrong way at an excessive rate of speed. “I will deputize all the officers so they can cross local boundaries.”
Mr. Spota said the Coast Guard will also play a major role in the effort.
“All agencies will participate, even those that don’t have a boat,” he said. “We have to be as aggressive as we are on the land.”
Mr. Spota said the D.A.’s office will use the proceeds from assets seized from criminals to fund overtime expenses for local departments, as well as state grant money and fees that Suffolk County receives from people who are convicted of DWI.
“The residents of the East End will not be paying a nickel for this effort,” he said.
Mr. Spota added that the DWI Task Force checkpoints, which began Memorial Day Weekend throughout the East End and have netted numerous arrests each weekend, will continue on designated weekends through the end of this year.
Mr. Spota said he had personally spent 11 years as a homicide prosecutor consoling families who couldn’t understand how a drunk driver had ruined their family’s life.
He also thanked representatives from the East End police departments who participated in the effort, many of whom were at the press conference.
“The very worst part of policing is bearing the burden of knocking on that door to bear that terrible news,” he said.
“They say success has many fathers but failure is an orphan,” he said. “We have a lot of proud fathers here. As district attorney, I’m deeply grateful for their enthusiasm and cooperation.”