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CHPD: Nearly 50% of DUI arrests involve someone reporting the driver

DUI, Citrus Heights
Police statistics show nearly half of DUI arrests in Citrus Heights involved a private complaint. // Image credit: CHPD

Sentinel staff report–
See a possible DUI driver on the road? Call 911. It works. That’s the message Citrus Heights Police Ron Lawrence has for drivers and residents who see vehicles swerving in-and-out of traffic and exhibiting drunk or drugged driving behavior.

In an October update in REACH Out, a publication for Citrus Heights neighborhood associations, Lawrence said 60 DUI arrests were made from June-August this year, with nearly half of those arrests, 26, stemming from community members calling 911 to report reckless driving.

While police also conduct regular DUI checkpoints in the city, at a cost of about $7,500 per checkpoint, Chief Lawrence said this summer’s arrest statistics are “a clear indication that (community) involvement in assisting us to stop DUI drivers is critical.”

The department also recently announced the receipt of a $164,000 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety to help fund special traffic enforcement operations, including DUI checkpoints and saturation patrols.

Q: What does CHPD do when a reckless driving call comes in?

A: “The CHPD dispatcher begins by asking if you have an emergency and will then proceed to ask you a series of questions, starting with the nature of your call. The dispatcher will want to know your name, callback number (in case you get disconnected), location and direction of travel. If you aren’t good with directions, you may use landmarks, business, park, or other common names to describe your position.”

“The dispatcher will ask for a description of the vehicle driving recklessly as well as a license plate number, but it’s not important enough for you to jeopardize your safety trying to obtain a license plate number. As the dispatcher is asking you questions, simultaneously the closest available police officer is being dispatched to your location and is provided the information you gave to the dispatcher.”

“It may take some time for the police to arrive depending on their current location as well as other priority calls for service going on at that point in the city. The dispatcher will ask you to remain on the phone to provide direction updates until you lose sight of the vehicle or until the police officer arrives.”

“Once the police officer makes the vehicle stop, they will no longer need you at the scene but will request if we can call you back to take an official statement for any potential criminal investigation. The officer will investigate to determine if the driver has any impairments or is driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.”

Q: What about reported vehicles that CHPD can’t locate?

A: “For those investigations that do not result in an arrest for DUI or citation for other traffic violations, or those drivers we are unable to stop, the CHPD mails a letter to the registered owner of the vehicle to advise them of the report of the recklessness of their vehicle. This advisement, while not a punitive measure, makes the registered owner aware of the observations made of the dangerous operation of their vehicle. From January through July of 2017, CHPD mailed 368 letters regarding unsafe driving.”

*Source for answers to questions are taken from Chief Lawrence’s October article.

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