December 6, 2010
The San Diego County Probation Department was awarded $575,000 in state grant funding to support a DUI Enforcement Team, which has resulted in a reduction of repeat drunk driving offenders.
“Many people will be on the roads to visit family and celebrate the holidays over the next few weeks, and this program helps keep our roads safer by closely supervising high-risk DUI offenders to make sure they don’t drive while impaired,” said Mack Jenkins, Chief Probation Officer.
The funding for the program was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The County Probation DUI Enforcement Team supervises about 700 felony DUI offenders on probation who have serious offenses such as multiple DUIs or a DUI where someone has been injured or killed.
Since the program began in July 2006, the nine-member team has been able to make significant strides in keeping felony DUI probationers compliant with the terms of their release. Overall, the annual recidivism rate for high risk DUI offenders on intensive supervision was just 1 percent in 2008-2009 and 3.6 percent in 2009-2010. Nationally, about one-third of all DUI arrests are repeat offenders.
The program involves intensive supervision of high-risk offenders through methods such as unannounced visits, random alcohol testing and frequent appointments with the probationers. Team members work with other agencies on special operations such as DUI checkpoints, warrant service, and saturation patrols in specific areas.
Since the program began, 340 probationers have been arrested, most of them for violating probation by drinking alcohol.
“These figures represent more people making it home safely and alive each day,” said Christopher J. Murphy, Director of the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS). “But to keep this trend going, we will continue to strive to meet our vision toward zero deaths, every one counts.”
Program statistics made possible by the grant:
- Team attempted 6,273 field and/or home contacts and made 3,343 successful contacts
- Officers completed a total of 7,413 office contacts
- Officers completed a total of 2,065 home searches
- Team conducted 15,770 alcohol and other drug tests including SCRAM days, averaging 7,885 tests per year
- Team compiled and distributed “HOT” sheets on a monthly basis to 5 local agencies to ensure the most current information is shared. The “HOT” sheets are also used to collaborate with local agencies in conducting probation sweeps and stakeout operations
- The unit participated in 38 sobriety checkpoints, 22 sting/stakeout operations targeting DUI offenders, 11 DUI warrant service operations, and 22 DUI enforcement activities such as saturation patrols and DUI probationer home compliance operations
Drunk driving is one of America’s deadliest crimes. In 2009, over 10,839 people died in highway crashes involving a driver or motorcycle operator with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher. California data for 2009 shows that 950 died in Alcohol Impaired Collisions, a 7.6 percent reduction in deaths from 2008.
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