Deputies underwent eight hours of training Monday to earn certification to make DWI arrests. (Photo by Rachel Cox)
BELTON (October 10, 2013)--Half of the Bell County Sheriff's Department’s deputies completed an 8-hour course Monday certifying them to make DWI arrests, and the other half of the force will earn certification on Thursday.
Deputies haven’t been certified to make the arrests for several years.
Bell County Sheriff Eddy Lange said it was the previous administration's policy to call a Department of Public Safety trooper to the scene whenever deputies pulled over a driver they suspected of being intoxicated.
In the event a driver was intoxicated, the responding trooper would then handle the arrest, Lange said.
Lange said when he took office nine months ago he was unable to find any records for DWI arrests by Bell County deputies going several years back.
Reita Hill with Mothers Against Drunk Driving in Bell County said she was disappointed to learn deputies were not trained to do field sobriety tests.
"I'm happy to see this change is being made to keep the community safer," Hill said.
Hill said the training was important to allow deputies to take the cases to court to get convictions to keep the drunk drivers off the road.
The training courses were conducted by the Standard Field Sobriety Testing Agency which was funded through Texas Department of Transportation grant at no extra cost to taxpayers.