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Outagamie County Cracks Down on Alcohol Abuse

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Photo: Video by nbc26.com

Outagamie County Cracks Down on Alcohol Abuse

By Raquel Lamal. CREATED Aug 25, 2014

 APPLETON, Wis.- Outagamie County is getting tougher on drunk drivers.  They're using new technology, a bracelet and breathalyzer to make sure those convicted of multiple OWI's don't get back behind the wheel unless they're sober.

It's called a SCRAM bracelet which stands for Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitoring.  Not only are people watched 24/7 while on these devices but they're also specially equipped to make sure repeat drunk drivers can't cheat the system.

"It allows for more supervision of specific participants those OWI fourth and fifth offenders primarily," explains Outagamie County Treatment Court coordinator, Shayla Russell.

The bracelets monitor alcohol levels every half hour through oils on a person's skin, but the breathalyzers are high tech as well.

"What's unique about this is it has an automatic facial recognition system," said Russell.

That means if you're not the person assigned to the device you can't blow into it.  The hope is to cut down on the number of people abusing alcohol in the county.

"I see it almost on a daily basis.  It's not just with OWI's, but you see it in domestic abuse cases a lot of times you see it in disorderly conduct cases," said Outagamie County Judge, Nancy Krueger.

The devices are Krueger's idea originally.  She hopes they cut down on the number of people in jail.

"The idea is that then they can stay in the community, they can keep the things that are the reasons they want to stay sober their family their job," said Judge Krueger.

The devices will be used starting September 10th.  The SCRAM gear was purchased with grant money from two local organizations.  The cost for someone using the bracelet is $10 a day.