With the message “Drunk driving ruins the holidays,” Citrus Heights police announced Friday they will join a nationwide law enforcement effort seeking to reduce a rise in DUI-related fatalities during the Christmas season.
Police said the local effort will include a Dec. 19 DUI checkpoint at an “undisclosed location” in Citrus Heights from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m., and will continue through New Year’s Eve with additional “saturation” patrols — a term describing teams of extra officers who actively search for and arrest drunk drivers.
“Drunk driving is a choice you make,” Citrus Heights Police Chief Christopher Boyd said in a news release this week. “When you make that choice, people get hurt or die.”
A total of six fatalities have occurred on Citrus Heights roadways this year, with Police Lt. Jason Russo confirming that alcohol was involved on the part of the driver in three of the collisions. He also said two involved alcohol on the part of pedestrians who were hit and killed this year.
Emphasizing the “preventable nature of drunk driving” accidents, police advised those planning to enjoy a holiday drink to designate a sober driver ahead of time or utilize options like a taxi or Uber. The Department also advised sober drivers to call 9-1-1 to report drunk drivers, and to take the keys of someone who’s been drinking and “help them get home safely.”
Answering a common question regarding why local police go out of their way to publicize DUI checkpoints ahead of time, CHPD’s Officer Anthony Boehle previously told The Sentinel that awareness efforts are about preventing drunk drivers from getting on the road in the first place.
“DUI checkpoints are not intended to make arrests,” Officer Boehle said, explaining the more people know about heavy crackdowns on DUI’s, the less likely they are to attempt a drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. “It’s all about public awareness.”
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In contrast to the checkpoints, Boehle said saturation patrols have a much higher potential for making arrests, because of a difference in goals. While checkpoints may arrest a small number of drunk drivers, Boehle said saturation units are deployed specifically to “hunt” for DUI drivers. In one night, he said a single patrol car can make more arrests than a checkpoint.
Police said funding for the holiday DUI crackdown comes from a California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) grant through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Last month, CHPD announced it had received a $236,190 OTS grant to help fund a year-long program of safety-related efforts, including DUI checkpoints and distracted driving enforcement.
With the message "Drunk driving ruins the holidays," Citrus Heights police announced Friday they will join a nationwide law enforcement effort seeking to reduce a rise in DUI-related fatalities during the Christmas season.
Police said the local effort will include a Dec. 19 DUI checkpoint at an "undisclosed location" in Citrus Heights, and will continue through New Year's Eve with additional "saturation" patrols -- a term describing teams of extra officers who actively search for and arrest...
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