For over a decade now, Georgia roadways have been patrolled by a special Georgia State Patrol task force known as the Nighthawks. The Georgia State Patrol Nighthawks are nighttime patrol program aimed at targeting peak DUI areas for traffic stops and drunk driving arrests. Not only are the Nighthawks regularly trained and provided with top-of-the-line resources, they also frequently step up their patrolling efforts as part of statewide safety programs.
The GPS Nighthawks were founded in 2004 to patrol the Greater Atlanta area. The force is considered an arm of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety and receives both state and federal funding. Some of its supplemental funding also comes from H.E.A.T, the state's Highway Enforcement of Aggressive Traffic program.
This funding allows the Nighthawks to keep their ranks specialized and well-trained. All Nighthawks officers receive training from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s field sobriety course. Since 2004, some officers have also been trained in other DUI-related programs, such as the Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE) and the Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) programs.
The Nighthawks are also well-equipped. They are trained to use the latest DUI policing equipment, like the Intoxilyzer 9000, and use patrol vehicles that utilize high-end video and audio recording practices to ensure the validity of each of their traffic stops.
Where are the Nighthawks?
In Greater Atlanta, the original Nighthawks program regularly patrols Midtwown, Buckhead, Virginia Highlands, Georgia 400, and I-75 and 85. In 2009, the Nighthawks expanded by dividing themselves into "North" and "South" patrols.
GSP Nighthawks "North" Patrol covers:
- Fulton County (Atlanta)
- Athens-Clarke County
- Cobb County
- DeKalb County
- Clayton County
- Gwinnett County
- Other strategic placements following UGA events
GSP Nighthawk "South" Patrol covers:
- Chatham County
- Bulloch County
In 2012, the force expanded to a "Middle" patrol, as well. This team covers the areas of Macon and Columbus. According to the Georgia Department of Public Safety, all in all, there are 28 troopers trained for and assigned to the Nighthawks patrols.
Effective DUI Defense is Still Possible
While the Nighthawks are well-trained and resourceful, that does not mean that an arrest made by them cannot be challenged in court. Just like any other DUI charge, these arrests are subject to sensitive protocols and errors are easily made. When this happens and due process is mishandled, the accused deserve to be spoken for.
If you have been charged with a DUI, then the time to mount your defense is now. The legal team at the Willis Law Firm has over 200 combined years of DUI defense experience. Over that time, their award-winning Atlanta DUI defense lawyers have helped countless drivers navigate both the administrative penalties and criminal charges against them, advocating and fighting for them at every possible opportunity.