Washington State Patrol named top DUI agency - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Washington State Patrol named top DUI agency

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YAKIMA, Wash.-- If it seems like the State Patrol is tough on drunk driving, it's not just your imagination. The International Association of Chiefs of Police named the Washington State Patrol the top DUI agency for 2010.

State Patrol arrests about 20,000 impaired drivers a year. That's half of all DUI arrests in the state.  And about eight percent of those arrests happen in our region, and over half of those are in Yakima County

However, the award isn't just for the number of arrests. The State Patrol also has a specialized team.  In Yakima County they've identified the troopers with the most DUI enforcement success.

"We combine them into a team and they travel around in our district addressing certain areas. Everyday is a DUI emphasis as far as the Washington State Patrol is concerned," says Washington State Patrol Lieutenant Terry Liebrecht.

The award also took into consideration the state patrol's community outreach and work with legislators to impose stricter laws.

Just last week the mandatory tow law that requires towing the cars of people arrested for drunk driving went into effect.

This isn't the State Patrol's first award of this kind. In 2007, it was named best state police agency of its size.