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Huntsville Police Roll Out New Mobile Alcohol Testing Unit

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) -- Huntsville police have debuted their new BAT mobile -- that's breath analysis testing. Now, we are not talking jet-black paint and turbo boosters here, but police say the repurposed ambulance donated from HEMSI is a far cry from the previous unit that was nearly twenty years older.

"This one has got much more room," says officer Mitchell Chappell of the DUI task force. "It's taller and wider than our old one and it's got an internal generator in it, so we don't have to start an external generator and have that loud noise."

Chappell says he is sure the BAT mobile will get a lot of mileage during the summer's holiday weekends.

"We take it out to our checkpoints and we go through our field sobriety test and if we determine they are under the influence of alcohol we bring them in here, we read them the Alabama Implied Consent Law and then we ask them if they want to take the breath test or not."

Officer Chappell says the new, larger unit means more than just roomier quarters for drunk drivers. He says it spells an exponential increase in efficiency and safety.

"We can get them breath-tested and then down to the metro jail much more quickly."

Huntsville has reported the most DUI arrests of any city in the state for the last 15 years. The police department typically announces checkpoints to the public. The next set of announced holiday checkpoints will likely be on July 4, a date when police hope their new addition will remain empty.