A Fairfax County committee yesterday recommended strengthening county police department procedures for arresting drunk drivers and said prosecutors should press for harsher sentences against offenders.
The 29-member Task Force of Drunk Driving, created by the Board of Supervisors in response to public pressure, spent nine months drafting proposals intended to reduce drunk driving in the county.
"People should not expect any quick fixes," said Police Chief Carroll D. Buracker, a member of the committee. "But the changes [recommended] reflect the public sentiment."
The committee urged that the supervisors to buy more sophisticated enforcement equipment for county police, including:
* More accurate equipment for conducting breath tests that would "provide police officers more confidence in DWI [driving while intoxicated] arrests... particularly at lower levels."
* Two vans that could be used to "make actual high visibility arrests" in highly traveled areas.
* Videotape equipment to record drunk-driving arrests "to accurately represent to the courts the uncooperative nature and drunkenness of some suspects."
The committee also directed much of its 30-point proposal at the courts and at Virginia drunk-driving laws that the committee said contain many loopholes. Members recommended that Commonwealth's Attorney Robert F. Horan pressure courts to impose the stiffest penalties allowed under the law in drunk-driving cases.