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Arizona holiday DUI arrests down 40 percent from last year

Arizona holiday DUI arrests down 40 percent from last year

Elias C. Arnold
The Arizona Republic
Jul. 6, 2006 12:00 AM

A coalition of East Valley police agencies arrested 177 drivers over Fourth of July weekend for driving under the influence, nearly 55 percent of the arrests made statewide over the holiday, according to figures released Wednesday.

More than 320 drivers were arrested statewide for driving under the influence between June 30 through July 4.

Arrests were down about 40 percent compared with last year's 544 arrests because less money was available to pay for officer overtime, said Michael Hegarty, deputy director of the Governor's Office of Highway Safety.

Seven police agencies took part in the five-day special enforcement project with 101 officers participating.

They made arrests in about 20 percent of their 877 stops.

Mesa police arrested 78 drivers, more than any other East Valley agency.

Tempe officers arrested 33 drivers, while Scottsdale had 21, Gilbert brought in 19 and Chandler had nine.

The task force is nationally recognized for its DUI enforcement and usually brings in between 50 and 70 percent of the state's holiday weekend DUI arrests, Hegarty said.

A concentration of drinking establishments in Scottsdale increases the need for the East Valley enforcement, Hegarty said.

"If you want to go from one bar to the next there's a lot more options in a smaller area there," he said.

More beer is consumed on the Fourth of July than any other holiday, Hegarty said.

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