Group drinks; officers train on giving DUI tests - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

DUI training gets real in Garden City

GARDEN CITY, GA (WTOC) -

Even after one or two alcoholic drinks, a driver could still be too impaired to drive.

Garden City police have been training officers how to spot drunken drivers for years. They said the best way is to use real people and this time everyone walked away learning something.

It's the last thing you would expect to see in the Garden City police headquarters.

Officers are purposely getting a group to consume alcoholic beverages.

"Six of seven subjects that will be thrown in and dosed to a certain level and brought out one at a time," said Sgt. Sean Myers.

He is training 15 officers from surrounding agencies on how to spot drunk drivers. The best way to practice is with people who have been drinking.

"What we're looking for is people who are impaired and are less safe and pose a hazard to those out on the roadways," he said. 

Courtney Morris, of Savannah, who participated, said it was fun, but the experience brings a realization to everything about drinking and driving.

First, officers practiced the walk-and-turn test. Then they do the one-leg-standing evaluation.

Even the volunteers who felt just a little tipsy were surprised just how much the tests revealed.

"Normally, I wouldn't have drank that much in such a small time period, but I probably would have driven myself home," said Jason Potter.

The test was pretty hard, but I wouldn't drive regardless to how many drinks I had," said Yasira Rodriguez of Savannah.

The takeaway message? Don't get behind the wheel after you've been drinking.

Since they started the class in 2010, officers have seen a significant drop in drunken driving.

"Everyone working together and focusing on impaired drivers and making the roads safer - it has made a difference," Myers said.

It's a difference that officers say starts in the classroom.

Garden City trains about 30 officers a year. They give all the volunteers a ride home after they're finished.

Copyright 2012 WTOC. All rights reserved.

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