Volunteer drinkers help train police in identifying drunk drivers

A group of volunteers in Hampden Township, Cumberland County purposely drank as much alcohol as they can handle, and it was all to help police test their skills in detecting drunk drivers.

“Having a mix of men and women and different kinds of alcohol that they’re drinking also allows them to see how different alcohol can affect somebody,” said Fritzi Schreffler, a PennDOT safety press officer for District 8.

Every hour, the volunteers blew into a breathalyzer to measure their blood alcohol content.

“It’s real funny on how it really affects each individual,” said Terry Snyder, one of the volunteers. “There’s two of us that have been keeping pace with each other at nine, and we’re still technically under the legal limit.”

After the volunteers had been drinking for about five hours, that’s when officers tested them on the Standardized Field Sobriety Test (SFST).

“I appreciate the volunteers that come in, and help us out with the training,” said Ofc. Matthew Berry of Springettsbury Township Police Dept. “It’s not everyday you get volunteered to come in and train officers to help them detect DUI drivers.”

The officers will also be tested by the Cumberland County DUI Task Force to ensure they administer the test properly and see how drunk these potential drivers are.

“It’s lifesaving for other drivers and we have a lot of accidents with people who are drinking, so the safe thing to do is get them off the road and make arrests for DUI,” Berry said.

The training class continues Friday, with another set of drinking volunteers.

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