Task Force History

History and Problem Identification

In the 1990’s, Cuyahoga County was identified as one of Ohio’s top ten problem areas for alcohol-related crashes by the Ohio Department of Public Safety. The Cuyahoga County Safe Communities Law Enforcement Task Force (DUI Task Force), led by Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital, was launched in 1999 to address this issue and craft a cohesive, countywide response to the alcohol-related crash problem. While early Task Force activities focused on saturation patrols, DUI checkpoints were added into the mix in 2001 when the Task Force entered into an agreement with the Ohio Governor’s Highway Safety Office to pilot a task force model that consisted of numerous low-cost, low-manpower checkpoints with coordinated saturation patrols. Under our model, we agreed to limit reimbursement to $2,500 per checkpoint in order to maximize activity (that number has since grown to $2,800 per checkpoint). NHTSA was strongly encouraging states to adopt the low manpower checkpoint strategy and Ohio needed to find a way to get that concept implemented in the state. Because Ohio law enforcement agencies in general had not been receptive to NHTSA’s proposed model, our Task Force agreed to pilot this experimental effort with a grant from the Ohio Department of Public Safety. The grant stipulated that the Task Force would evaluate its efforts and share its experiences with others in the state, with the intention of encouraging Ohio law enforcement agencies to adopt those methods and procedures developed by the Cuyahoga County Task Force which were found to be most successful.

As the state’s largest county, Cuyahoga County continues to have one of the state’s largest alcohol problems. However, we have made tremendous strides in reducing alcohol crashes and currently have the lowest crash rate and lowest alcohol-related crash rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled among Ohio’s metropolitan areas. The Task Force is continuing to work to maintain the gains we have made and to lower fatality and injury rates even further