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Geographic Information Systems

SPIDRE Team Ride Along

On Saturday, November 3rd, a few of the WC GIS Program staff and students attended the SPIDRE Team Ride Along in Baltimore County. The prime mission of the SPIDRE Team is to patrol for impaired drivers to help reduce deaths on Maryland roadways. 558 people died on Maryland roadways last year, out of that, 188 were involved in a crash with an impaired driver. 

The SPIDRE Team, which stands for State Police Impaired Driving Effort, is Maryland’s designated law enforcement team that patrols for impaired drivers. The WC GIS Program has been creating analyses products for the team since their inception. It was a special opportunity to ride along with this team.  

Sean Lynn, GIS Project Manager of the MHSO (Maryland Highway Safety Office) Grant, accompanied TFC Anderson from the SPIDRE Team on the ride along. TFC Anderson informed Sean that he looks for behaviors to recognize impaired drivers such as changing lanes without blinkers, not being able to stay in proper lane, driving 20+ mph over the speed limit, and not using headlights. During the ride along, he pulled over a driver based on these behaviors. After testing the driver, it was determined he was indeed driving impaired.  

I was ecstatic to get the opportunity to work with the SPIDRE Team for one night and to get a better understanding of how they operate and how we can improve our products to assist them in the future” says Sean. 

Allie Gorman, GIS Analyst I for the Vehicle Theft Prevention Grant and the VOCA (Victims of Crime Act) Grant, attended the ride along as well. Gorman said that “attending the ride along was an amazing learning experience. We only get to see one side of the data so if was neat to see the other side of it and to get a better understanding of how its collected. It was definitely interesting seeing what goes into a field sobriety test as well as what they are looking for to determine if someone is under the influence.”  

Two journeyman leaders, Molly Flowers and Ronnie Hastings, were the students chosen to attend the ride along. Flowers and Hastings both work on the Maryland Highway Safety Office grant at the WC GIS Program, creating analysis products for the SPIDRE Team and other law enforcement throughout the state.  

 Flowers expressed that she “found the ride along to be really fun. It was interesting to see some of the signs that the officers look for in a potential DUI, like driving below the speed limit, excessive speed, swerving from lane to lane, and crossing the lane lines but not actually going into the other lane. The officer I rode with preferred to have multiple different violations before pulling over a vehicle and documented all of the infractions on a voice memo, so he had them for a report later.” 

Hastings reported that “During my ride along I was given a look into the day to day lives of some of the Maryland State Police’s finest. The night started with getting to know the officer that I accompanied and learning many of the details of how the officers distinguish a driver under the influence from those driving in a sober state. I was able to witness multiple sobriety tests up close and even got to see what it is like to receive a DUI and have a license revoked. The culmination of the night was both daunting and thrilling!”  

The WC GIS Program was grateful to be able to send a few people to join in on this great opportunity to learn more about how the SPIDRE Team operates.