Statewide DUI patrols starting Aug. 20 dedicated to memory of Lynnwood police officer

Officer Mark Brinkman

Law enforcement across Washington will dedicate their annual August impaired driving emphasis patrols to long-time Lynnwood Police Officer Mark Brinkman. The patrols run Aug. 20 through Sept. 6.

Brinkman, who died in April, was a nationally known leader in DUI enforcement. He was also a drug recognition expert (DRE) and DRE instructor who trained officers across the state in detecting impairment from substances other than alcohol. The annual patrols occur as impaired driving-related deaths and serious injuries have increased over the past year despite fewer people driving due to COVID restrictions.

“Officer Brinkman dedicated himself to saving lives by getting impaired drivers off the road,” said Doug Dahl, Target Zero manager communications lead for the Washington Traffic Safety Commission.  “Like Officer Brinkman, everyone can do something to prevent impaired driving. If you drink or use cannabis or other drugs, choose from many available alternatives rather than drive.  If you see a friend or family member about to drive impaired, intervene.  You can be the difference that prevents a crash and saves a life.”

In 2020, impaired driving involved fatalities increased 12.4% and serious injuries increased 32.4% over 2019, even though vehicle miles traveled was 15% lower. Serious injuries from impaired driver involved crashes were up 8.6% through June of 2021 compared with the same time period in 2020.  Intoxication from more than one substance (usually alcohol and cannabis) is found in most impaired drivers.

“The good news is that most Washingtonians don’t drink and drive, and most will step in to stop someone from driving after drinking or using drugs,” said Dahl. The extra patrols are a reminder to always drive sober.”

Brinkman will also be honored with a special plaque on the Snohomish County DUI Victims Memorial Wall, which will be rededicated at a ceremony Aug. 20.  The ceremony coincides with the launch of the DUI patrols.

A graduate of the Seattle Police Academy in 1988, Brinkman served for 35 years in law enforcement, including 25 years with the Lynnwood Police Department. In 2016 he was recognized as “Law Enforcement Liaison of the Year” by the Washington Traffic Safety Commission. His dedication and success in removing impaired drivers from the road earned him national recognition and he was featured in several national news media profiles.

“Officer Brinkman set the example of preventing impaired driving, through his performance as a police officer and with the compassion he showed as a human being,” said Stacey McShane.  Target Zero Manager for Snohomish County. “Mark made connections even with the people he arrested. He wanted to help people and hoped he could play a part in helping people make better, safer choices. Each of us can echo his commitment. These crashes are preventable and finding a sober way home is easy. It’s as simple as offering a ride, offering your couch for the night, or calling a rideshare or taxi.”

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