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Wisconsin sheriff's department to post DWI arrest names, mugshots on social media

The department's new policy is part of a larger push to reduce drunk driving.

A Wisconsin county sheriff's department announced Sunday it will begin posting arrest information and mug shots of those arrested for drunk driving on social media.

According to a Facebook post from the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office, the department will post information for anyone arrested for operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol, known in Wisconsin as an OWI.

The post states that while the department is sympathetic to those struggling with addictions, it is not an excuse for an OWI. The department also notes that this information is already public under Wisconsin law, and that all arrested are innocent until proven guilty.

Some Facebook commenters on the post applauded the department, while others raised questions about the consequences of posting this information.

They emphasized that those arrests have likely not yet been found guilty, and that the documents being public record is not reason enough to post them on social media.

Still, the department maintains the move could have a positive impact.

“If the sheriff's office policy of posting OWI arrests saves just one life on our highway, then we have accomplished our goal,” the post reads.

This policy is part of a larger effort to combat drunk driving in Dodge County. The department stated the decision to post the information comes in part as a response to an increase in OWIs from 2018 to 2019.

Overall, alcohol-related crashes, injuries and fatalities have declined since peaking in 1976, with available data from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation spanning until 2015. 

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