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Conway Officers Take Unique Approach to DWI Training

DWI training taking place at Hendrix College in Conway Thursday night.
CONWAY, AR -- The Conway Police Department is taking a unique approach to training cops on how to catch drunk drivers.

Officers are actually giving volunteers booze and then testing them after they're tipsy.

In a classroom at Hendrix College there's beer, booze and blaring music.

All the signs point to it being a party there, but at this party, officers are serving the drinks.

Detective Jason Cameron said, "We're not just allowing them to drink, we're dosing them with the alcohol."

This is all done in a controlled environment as part of a training program with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Once the volunteers get a little to drink and start feeling good, 28 training officers give them sobriety tests.

Not everyone agrees with this approach though.

Some question the safety and ethics of a training exercise, that they say, promotes drinking.

Tyler Scalise said, "I think it's just dangerous. I'm just not OK with that. I think there are other things they could be working on other than that."

Christopher Cross told FOX16 News, "I don't believe it will change anything. I don't believe it will save any money or any lives or anything else."

But Detective Cameron says this is the most effective way to train officers on how to recognize a drunk driver.

"This gives them that real life scenario in an extremely controlled environment so that they can see the symptoms that they're going to see out on the highway," Detective Cameron said.

The Conway Police Department says private sponsors --  including local businesses -- make donations so the alcohol can be bought.

Officers ensured us no one drives after the training and everyone gets home safely.

According to Detective Cameron, this DWI training technique has been used -- across the country -- since the late 80's.

Tonight's training took place at Hendrix College in Conway.

Officers and deputies -- from other areas -- also went to the training including Jacksonville, Searcy, Saline and Pulaski Counties.

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