Oneida County

Tom Giruzzi

120 Airline Street
POB 908
Oriskany, NY 13424
United States





Oneida County STOP-DWI presentation.pptx

Victory for the Utica Comets and STOP DWI New York Comets%2011-2018.jpg

Some people use the term “Blackout Wednesday” or “Drunksgiving” to describe the day before Thanksgiving as it has become one of the largest drinking nights of the year. As a result DUIs and DWIs continue to be of concern to many.

The Utica Comets hosted the Laval Rockets at home in the Adirondack Bank Stadium on the night before Thanksgiving. STOP DWI programs from Madison, Oneida, and Herkimer County were represented to raise awareness of the dangers of drinking and driving.  Fans experienced different events throughout the night to get them thinking about their plan to get home safely.

The first 350 people through the gate were given a stress hockey puck with the STOP DWI logo, provided by Madison County STOP DWI. As fans walked through the foyer, an educational table was set up where fans could enter to win a jersey by answering a question regarding driving under the influence.

Madison County STOP DWI Prevention Education Specialist, Jennifer Cottet, and Oneida County STOP DWI Coordinator, Tom Giruzzi, facilitated the questions and provided handouts such as stadium cups, koozies, pens, and flash lights to remind the fans of sober driving. Alongside them was a driving simulator regarding driving while intoxicated provided by Alliance where virtual reality gave people the opportunity to see their ability while impaired.

Madison County Sheriff Todd Hood, Herkimer County Legislator Jim Bono, and Oneida County Probation Director Dave Tomidy escorted Mr. Dalton Buss to the ice for the puck drop in honor of his brother Kane Buss. Kane Buss, a 2013 graduate of Oneida High School, was killed by a drunk driver in January 2015. Buss was an aspiring law enforcement student.

Dalton was accompanied by Mike and Claudette Buss along with his fiancé, Morgan Simmons they watched him drop the puck. The four of them were given the opportunity to ride the Zamboni in honor of Kane.

Fans saw various PSAs throughout the night featuring the Sheriffs from Madison and Oneida County, Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente and Utica Police Chief regarding drinking while driving. There was also a puck shoot where participants were asked to wear beer goggles and shoot into the net. Participants struggled and realized how alcohol can truly impair their ability.

Comets took the night home with a 3-2 win over Laval Rockets. Madison County STOP DWI Coordinator Sergeant Matt White, said “I want to remind everyone to not drink and drive and get a safe ride home”. Have A Plan and be safe this weekend.

Comets%20Puck%20Drop%2011-2018.jpg Comets%20Zamboni%2011-2018.jpg

Official says STOP-DWI education driving incident numbers down  Tom%20Giruzzi.jpg


Utica Observer-Dispatch

By Jolene Cleaver

Posted Nov 12, 2018 at 5:08 AM 


As the holidays draw near, law enforcement often looks to bolster safety initiatives, such as sobriety checkpoints, to reduce the number of impaired drivers on the road.


But the work to curb impaired driving — whether drug or alcohol related — isn’t limited just to police forces.


Across the state, people such as Oneida County’s Tom Giruzzi are familiar faces as they head up STOP-DWI programs. And, Giruzzi says, when you look at DWI incident numbers, you can see these public outreach programs are working.


“We have an aggressive educational program that includes schools and business,” said Giruzzi, Oneida County’s STOP-DWI coordinator. “It’s obviously a very busy time of year.”


“Is it working? We like to think so,” Giruzzi said.


Looking at statistics, Giruzzi notes that in 2009 there were 1,150 driving while intoxicated arrests in Oneida County. In 2017, that figure was 546, and there was one fatality due to a motor vehicle accident.


Through the third quarter of 2018, Giruzzi said there were 350 DWI arrests, and so far, no fatalities.


A wider perspective puts a brighter shine on these efforts.  For more information about the STOP-DWI program in Oneida County, visit


Since the STOP-DWI program was enacted statewide in 1981, fatalities from alcohol-related crashes on New York’s roadways have decreased 74 percent, according to information from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office. The state STOP-DWI program is funded exclusively by fines collected from convictions of drunk or drugged driving.


“The program empowers localities to enact creative and collaborative strategies utilizing education, awareness and enforcement to address drunk and drugged driving and prevent tragedies resulting from impaired-driving crashes,” reads a release from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office.


In an echo of Giruzzi’s local statistics, the state reports that since 2009, data from the Institute for Traffic Safety Management shows alcohol-related crashes in New York have decreased by roughly 10 percent, with fatal alcohol-related crash numbers dropping by about 30 percent. Personal injury crashes have declined almost 16 percent.


When it comes to collaboration with area law enforcement, Giruzzi and Oneida County Sheriff Robert Maciol said work includes getting the word out about sobriety checkpoints and safe driving messages.


“At the Sheriff’s Office we work with the STOP-DWI program,” Maciol said. “The message we have been pushing is to always have a plan (for travel).”


Maciol added that during the holidays there are increased road patrols above and beyond the regular two patrol units who work year-round to find drunken drivers in Oneida County.


But getting the word out before drivers hit the road is key. Giruzzi said education starts with teens and preteens.


“We really focus a lot on young people ... (and) the message is the same,” he said. “We need preventative education initiatives.”


This month, Giruzzi said, programs are scheduled for Nov. 14 at Utica College and also at a Nov. 21 Utica Comets game.


Mock DWI crashes also are effective examples to help get the message across. While it hits home for a lot of students, he said, there always are kids who might goof off and not immediately take the message seriously.


Those are the times when Giruzzi changes up his mentoring tactics.


“We’re educators at the end of the day. It’s a joke until it hits you,” Giruzzi said.


Over the years, he has worked with many families who lost a loved one in drunken driving-related incidents.


That’s a knock on the door from a police officer you don’t want to get, Giruzzi said.

A few rain drops couldn’t dampen the opening ceremony for the 5th Annual STOP DWI High School Baseball Classic, which was played April 29 and 30th at Murnane Field in Utica.

All participating teams where on the field, as a moment of silence was held for 2013 Oneida HS graduate Kane Buss, who was killed by a drunk driver, as he exited Destiny Mall January 18, 2015

Photo one:  Opening Ceremony for the 5th Annual STOP DWI HS BASEBALL CLASSIC

Photo two: STOP DWI Coordinator Tom Giruzzi Presents a $250.00 check to THE BUSS FAMILY, in honor of their son KANE’s scholarship fund.

Photo three:  Color Guard representing five local Police Agencies, get ready to present the Colors…. KANE BUSS ASPIRED TO BE A PLOCE OFFICER

Photo four: The Oriskany and NY Mills Baseball teams with the DON”T TEXT AND DRIVE PLEDGE BOARD, which all teams where required to sign.