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San Diego County Sheriff receives grant for countywide DUI enforcement campaign

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The primary cause of deaths on our local streets and highways is drunk and impaired driving. The “Avoid the 15” DUI Task Force will continue its DUI enforcement in San Diego County as a result of a recent $300,000 grant awarded by the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) to the San Diego County Sheriff's Department, who will administer the grant for the county.

“Partnerships amongst county law enforcement agencies help to strengthen our efforts to combat drunk and impaired driving,” said Sheriff Bill Gore. “This year we hope to continue making an impact and keeping our roads safe for the people of San Diego County.”

The Avoid the 15 DUI campaign is named to send the message that if you don’t drink and drive, you will avoid getting arrested by any of the 15 participating law enforcement agencies in the county.

The grant activities will specifically target those who drink too much and get behind the wheel. Deputies and officers will be staffing DUI/driver’s license checkpoints, and local DUI saturation patrols for each partnering. Additionally, funding will target the “worst of the worst” repeat DUI offenders with warrant sweeps and multi‐agency task force operations.

“The Avoid DUI task forces have been an essential part of the phenomenal reduction in DUI deaths on our roadways in the last five years in California,” said Christopher J. Murphy, director of the Office of Traffic Safety. “Tragically, DUI deaths remain the largest sector, at more than 30 percent of traffic fatalities. This grant will help combat that, making San Diego County a safer place to live and work.”

DUI/driver's license checkpoints are a key component of the grant. These highly visible and publicized events are meant to deter impaired driving, not to increase arrests. Research shows that crashes involving alcohol drop by an average of 20 percent when well‐publicized checkpoints are conducted often enough.

Drivers can expect to see special DUI campaigns during the winter and summer holiday periods as well as on Super Bowl Sunday, St. Patrick’s Day, Cinco de Mayo and during local special events with identified DUI problems.

Agencies participating in the Avoid the 15 Task Force include:

*San Diego Police Department
*Chula Vista Police Department
*National City Police Department
*Oceanside Police Department
*Coronado Police Department
*Harbor Police
*La Mesa Police Department
*Escondido Police Department
*San Diego State University
*University of California, San Diego
*Palomar College
*California State University, San Marcos
*San Diego County Probation
*San Diego County Sheriff's Department
*California State Parks Ocotillo Wells

Funding for the grant comes from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

For the 2011-2012 Avoid and OTS STEP Sheriff's grant period ending September 2012, the following are some statistical facts:

*There were 21 DUI checkpoints conducted. More than 25,300 drivers entered the checkpoints. Of these, 13,800 drivers were contacted.

*There were 43 DUI arrests from the checkpoints, and 85 citations for suspended or unlicensed drivers entering the checkpoints.

*During DUI saturation patrol operations, 3,700 vehicle stops were conducted. There were 266 DUI arrests from saturation patrols. There were 20 felony arrests made and 107 other citations or arrests for unlicensed or suspended drivers.

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