NM sheriff's office deploys 'Batmobile' from LDV to help educate, enforce drunk driving
DONA ANA COUNTY, N.M. — Dona Ana County is located in the southern portion of the State of New Mexico and covers some 3,814 miles. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the county’s population was 209,233 people. Las Cruces is its largest city, well known as the temporary home of Billy the Kid and where miners and prospectors came seeking out gold.
While the local tourism wants you to visit their outstanding local breweries or try one of the wineries, make sure you do it responsibly.
The Dona Ana Sheriff’s Office is watching.
All Black Everything
Dona Ana County’s proactive approach towards eliminating impaired motorists from their roadways can be seen, both visually and in statistics.
The “Batmobile,” as the Department calls it thanks to its all black paint, is a thirty-nine foot DUI/Blood Alcohol Testing (BAT) vehicle that is used as a mobile checkpoint for enforcement projects. It does have that “Batmobile” look to it in person.
“Since putting our ‘Batmobile’ into service, we have made a major impact within the community with the education and enforcement of drunk and impaired driving,” said Dona Ana Sheriff's Office Sgt. Dason Allen.
The Sheriff’s Office has had the vehicle set up on twelve checkpoints throughout the county and has made a significant impact on their DUI enforcement projects.
“This vehicle is used as a command post at the location of a DUI checkpoint," Sgt. Allen said. "There are five interior workstations with a printer and two Intoxilyzer 8000 breath alcohol testing machines. In the rear, we have holding cells for 10 prisoners. This has made it a safer, more efficient environment to complete an arrest from beginning to end."
Having the holding cells on board eliminates the need for officers to travel back and forth to the station each time someone is arrested. Deputies can even use the vehicle to complete their paperwork in the field with the on-board workstations and printer.
"The department had the idea of incorporating the diamond plate holding cells into their truck," Dan Schwabe, LDV special service vehicle sales specialist, said. "Our engineering team went to work to not only integrate them into the vehicle but also reconfigure the HVAC system to be functional within the cells, incorporate a video surveillance system and a floor drain.”
In addition to using this specialized vehicle for DUI enforcement operations, the Sheriff’s Office has been sending it out on DWI-related fatal crash scene investigations.
"With the 'Batmobile's' LED light mast, we can light up the scene at night to make our work more efficient and easier," Sgt. Allen said. "We also attend community programs and events throughout the county and hand out DWI awareness materials to the public. The education and awareness component has opened eyes to the dangers of drunk driving."
The county also hosts an annual DWI Workshop. The goals are to reduce alcohol-related injuries and deaths by increasing knowledge about effective substance abuse services and programs available in the community.
"LDV built a vehicle for the Bernalillo County Sheriff's Office," Sgt. Allen said. "We saw how they were using their truck and knew we wanted something similar. We were able to review the specs and talk with a representative from Bernalillo. He spoke highly of the quality of their truck so when it came time to buy ours, we only considered LDV."
The addition of the dedicated DUI enforcement truck has also encouraged additional deputies to take part on the scheduled enforcement checkpoints. This has helped increase the number of DWI arrests and in turn is protecting their motorists.
"Overall, the truck has made a major impact within the community and with the education and enforcement of drunk driving related behavior," Sgt. Allen said. "In the field, officers are safer and more efficient with completing paperwork or investigating a major incident. The presence in the community has increased the awareness related to DWI-related issues."
To learn more about Dona Ana's DUI/BAT truck, click here.
About LDV, Inc.
"LDV, Inc. has led the emergency response vehicle market in quality and technological advances since 1977. We provide mobile command centers, HNT vehicles, EOD response vehicles, mobile labs, emergency equipment trucks, trailers and more to agencies and departments across the United States and overseas. Our engineers use only the highest quality components and our manufacturing capabilities include almost 100,000 square feet of metal fabrication and assembly.