South St. Louis County DWI Court named one of four “Academy Courts” in the nation
Posted: Friday, May 5, 2017
The National Center for DWI Courts (NCDC) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have named the South St. Louis County DWI Court in Duluth as one of four national Academy Courts in the United States.
As an NCDC Academy Court, the South St. Louis County DWI Court will help develop, identify, and test national best practices for DWI courts, provide technical assistance, and host jurisdictions interested in starting a DWI court.
The Court was selected from more than 700 DWI courts nationwide, and will serve a term of three years. The NCDC officially designated the program as an Academy Court during a special ceremony at the St. Louis County Courthouse in Duluth on May 5.
“DWI courts have become one of the most successful innovations for reducing impaired driving and saving lives,” said NCDC Director Jim Eberspacher. “As an Academy Court, the South St. Louis County DWI Court in Duluth is a national model for holding DWI offenders accountable while connecting them to the treatment they need to change their lives. The dedication of the South St. Louis County DWI Court’s team, and the outstanding history of restoring lives and maximizing resources throughout its community, made it an obvious choice as a learning site for other jurisdictions.”
The South St. Louis County DWI Court has been in operation since January 2008 and has graduated more than 250 participants to date, with 38 active participants and 26 graduate participants at present. The Court provides a comprehensive, multidisciplinary response to the repeat DWI offender that breaks the cycles of addiction and crime through strong accountability and improved access to services. This has proven to increase public safety, reduce recidivism, reduce cost, and strengthen families.
Impaired driving is one of the single most serious threats to public safety, and repeat offenders are over-represented in fatal crashes. Research shows that DWI courts are the most successful way to reduce impaired driving, decreasing recidivism by as much as 60 percent, all while saving taxpayers money: an incredible $3.19 for every $1 invested.
“The privilege of developing and sustaining a DWI court is really twofold,” stated South St. Louis County DWI Court Presiding Judge Shaun R. Floerke. “First, we are honored to be part of and witness to the hard work, dedication, and recovery of our amazing clients. Second, we get to do all of this as a team; learning from each other and bringing each person’s strengths and experiences to the table. It’s a challenge and a great honor to be recognized for our efforts and our clients’ outcomes. We look forward to being part of the great work NCDC is doing!”