Sentinel staff report–
In an effort to curb drunk and drugged driving this holiday season, Citrus Heights police announced officers are working “around the clock” to specifically target intoxicated drivers on the streets using extra DUI patrols and checkpoint operations.
“This holiday season, drivers will notice increased enforcement watching closely for anyone who is driving impaired,” Police Sgt. Kris Frey said in a statement to media announcing the holiday crackdown. “We’ll be arresting anyone we catch driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.”
The effort is part of a statewide 18-day crackdown that began locally with a DUI checkpoint in Citrus Heights on Dec. 15 and is continuing with DUI “saturation patrols” roving the streets in search of drivers exhibiting drunk or drugged behavior, police said.
Although commonly misunderstood by the general public, the Citrus Heights Police Department says it announces DUI operations in advance as a public awareness tool to help deter drivers from getting behind the wheel drunk in the first place.
The department also encourages community members to report drunk drivers by calling 911. Earlier this year, Police Chief Ron Lawrence cited statistics showing nearly half the DUI arrests made this summer involved a phone call from someone reporting the driver to police.
Police consider drunk driving to be a preventable crime, with “deadly, devastating consequences.” The department cited recent statistics from the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) showing more than 10,000 people died last year in crashes where the driver had a blood alcohol concentration level over the legal limit of .08. More than 10% of the fatal crashes occurred in California.
Funding for the holiday crackdown comes from a California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) grant, through the NHTSA. Citrus Heights was awarded a $164,000 OTS grant earlier this year to help fund a year-long program of safety-related efforts, with a focus on DUI checkpoints and saturation patrols.