New Year’s OWI Patrols

December 30, 2014
Elise Schaffer, PIO Phone: (608) 284-6142
Sheriff's Office

The Dane County Sheriff’s Office wants you to ring in the New Year with family and friends, not with us!  That’s why Sheriff David Mahoney is encouraging anyone planning on going out for the holiday to take precautions for a safe trip.


The Sheriff’s Office will have six additional deputies on the road for traffic enforcement on New Year’s Eve night.  This holiday in particular is one where there are lots of options for getting a safe ride home.  Starting at 7:00 pm, Madison Metro offers free extended service.  Plan your trip by visiting their website at


Other options include designating a sober driver BEFORE you start drinking, or using one of the free rides offered by taverns and restaurants belonging to the Tavern League of Wisconsin.  These establishments can be found at The Sheriff’s Office also encourages party-goers to look out for their friends.  Don’t allow someone you know could be intoxicated to get behind the wheel.  And if you witness an impaired driver, call 911. 


“Whether it’s a holiday or not, the Dane County Sheriff’s Office works to educate drivers on the dangers of drinking and driving.  And for those who choose not to listen to our message, we’ll have extra enforcement on the road tomorrow night, and many other nights throughout 2015,” said Sheriff David Mahoney.


The Sheriff’s Office is currently utilizing two OWI prevention grants awarded from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation to keep impaired drivers off our roads.  The number of OWI related traffic calls responded to by the Dane County deputies in 2014, will easily meet or exceed the numbers of 2013, with well over 450 for the year.  This staggering number is only a fraction of the problem, as it does not include calls to other police agencies in the county.  The Dane County Jail processed over 175 bookings for felony OWI charges in 2014.


Dane County Executive Joe Parisi joins Sheriff Mahoney in the effort to keep drunk drivers off our roads.  “Ultimately our solution lies in prevention.  In Dane County we offer a variety of approaches to treatment and are pleased to report there has not been a waiting list for county-funded residential treatment for three years,” Parisi said.  “Our goal is to offer a path to recovery that not only helps the people in our programs avoid recidivism and live better lives, but also reduces the human and economic harm done when people drive under the influence of alcohol and other drugs.”