Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The B.A.T. Mobile

Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano, District Attorney Kathleen Rice and Police Commissioner Lawrence Mulvey unveiled the county's latest weapon to combat drunken driving.

The Breath Alcohol Testing vehicle, or BAT mobile, will provide police with a mobile team of certified breath technicians to process drunken drivers, from their initial arrests through testing.

State Sen. Charles Fuschillo Jr., a Republican from Merrick, acquired the state funding for the District Attorney’s Office to purchase the $249,918 vehicle using New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services grant funds.

The 29-foot vehicle will be used by Nassau County police officers. The unit will function as a “sobriety testing center” and be equipped with breath alcohol testing equipment and four video cameras to monitor the exterior of the vehicle and the testing area.

The sides of the vehicle will also serve as a rolling anti-DWI billboard and have graphic images of injuries suffered from drunk driving accidents, stating “Not Everyone Who is Hit by a Drunk Driver Dies,” and also a photo of the horrendous aftermath of the 2005 crash caused by Martin Heidgen, which killed seven-year-old Katie Flynn and limousine driver Stanley Rabinowitz, with the question “Could you live with yourself?”

Arrestees can be brought into the vehicle where breath alcohol testing or drug recognition exams can be conducted. If they are found to be intoxicated, they will be arrested.

“This new tool in our concerted effort to stop drunken and reckless driving will absolutely save lives,” Rice said. “It may save a life by taking a drunken driver off the road, or it may serve as a deterrent to a driver who passes by its graphic images and thinks twice before driving drunk. Either way, the BAT mobile will be on duty, taking unsafe drivers off the road.”

“The BAT mobile combines enforcement with prevention to give Nassau County a tremendous new tool to remove drunk drivers from our roads,” Fuschillo said. “Nassau Police will be able to immediately test suspected drunk drivers for intoxication, which better preserves important evidence of a DWI crime. The high-visibility nature of the vehicle will also raise awareness about the dangers of drinking and driving and deter people from getting behind the wheel if they are intoxicated. I'm pleased to have helped Nassau County obtain this new, high-tech resource to stop DWI.”

“Let it be known that if you drive under the influence in Nassau County, you will be arrested and prosecuted. We will do whatever we can to make our streets safe,” Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano said.

"During my administration, apprehending DWI offenders has been one of my top priorities. The Nassau County Police Department has been very successful in doing so, but there is still work to be done. The "Bat Mobile" is another resource available to the law enforcement community for us to utilize in not only arresting DWI offenders, but an opportunity to educate motorists of the dangers associated with drinking and driving." Police Commissioner Lawrence W. Mulvey.

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