MOON TOWNSHIP (KDKA) — Just in time for Super Bowl weekend, some people volunteered to get drunk, so police officers could have a better idea of what to look for when they’re identifying drunk drivers.
You might call it DUI detection school, and KDKA got an exclusive look.
Many times, police officers watch videos of intoxicated people to train for field sobriety testing, but the West Hills DUI Task Force is doing one better.
A room of volunteers at the training session, which is held at the 911th Air Force Base in Moon Township, drank alcohol for two and a half hours.
Zach Webb, an electrician from Midway, drank beer. Others had vodka or rum.
“It’s interesting,” said Webb. “Something I never imagined doing.”
The lead instructor, Moon Township Police Sgt. Douglas Ogden, says everything is measured carefully.
Exact blood alcohol levels are taken of all the volunteers, but the results are not revealed to the officers who are training.
Instead, the volunteers are taken into another room where officers get to test the volunteers – watching for involuntary jerking of their eyes, how they walk a straight line and follow instructions.
Sgt. Ogden says this is better than officers watching videos.
“The experience of looking someone in the eye, seeing what we’re teaching them to look for, putting them through a battery of tests and seeing it firsthand is far more effective,” he said.
The volunteers are driven home and must promise not to drive for hours.
While the timing is coincidence, some of the graduating officers will be part of roving DUI patrols this Super Bowl weekend.