"But when you look specifically here at Brown County, last year we had five alcohol-related traffic fatalities. So that's only five individuals who made the wrong choice when it came to drinking and driving," said Mike Panosh,
That's half the number of alcohol-related deaths that occurred when the Brown County O-W-I Task Force was formed in 2011. Task force member, Officer Mike Netzger, Green Bay Police Department, lost his 18-year-old daughter, Ashley, to a drunk driver in 2008. He credits the decline to stepped up enforcement.
"From 2008, through 2009. and (20)10 and even into 2011 we doubled the number of drunk driving arrests prior to 2008, and we continue to maintain those high levels of enforcement," Netzger said..
To build upon that successful record, the task force is planning changes in patrolling.
"We may start in one jurisdiction and end in another. Just based on traffic flow and what we perceive to be the number of drunk drivers in that area," Panosh said.
Even now, years later, Mike Netzger says he shares his family's experiences coping with the aftermath of life lost to a drunk driver because of one simple motivation.
"Ashley was a difference maker. She wanted to be a nurse. So, absolutely. She continues to push me," Netzger said.
Five other OWI task forces have been formed in Northeast Wisconsin due to Brown County's success. Dane County is now looking at starting a similar program.
Local 5's Terry Kovarik has the story.