33 deputy squads patrolling freeway system for New Year’s Eve

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MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke held a news conference Thursday afternoon discussing stepped up deputy patrols coming up this New Year's Eve weekend. Sheriff Clarke reminded those planning on celebrating this weekend to take drunk driving seriously, and says too many people die on Wisconsin roadways, and these deaths are easily prevented.

Sheriff Clarke didn't mince words during his news conference Thursday, regarding the dangers of drinking and driving. "Why would you want to start 2012, January 1st, 2012 inside a jail cell, in the hospital, or in the morgue? There's nothing wrong with consuming alcohol in and of itself. It's the deadly combination of then getting behind the wheel of an automobile," Sheriff Clarke said.

Sheriff Clarke says 33 Sheriff's Department squads will be monitoring the Milwaukee County freeway system this weekend, and many of them will be equipped with portable breathalyzers. Besides the Sheriff's Department squads, there will be another 55 squads from other law enforcement agencies monitoring side streets. Sheriff Clarke says having a plan is important: know how you'll get from Point A to Point B if you'll be drinking. "We will literally have a dragnet on the roadways on New Year's Eve, so if you plan on winging it, you plan on rolling the dice, I'll tell you right now, you're going to get your wings clipped," Sheriff Clarke said Thursday.

Sheriff Clarke says the average blood alcohol content of those arrested is .15 - nearly twice the legal limit. He says since 2008, the Southeastern Wisconsin Drunk Driving Task Force has arrested almost 5,000 people, but says more people engage in drunk driving than are actually caught.

An option if you're planning on drinking on New Year's Eve is the free bus rides, sponsored by MillerCoors. These rides will be offered in Milwaukee and Waukesha counties. Click here for more details, and to make your safe New Year's Eve plan.