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Police: DUI arrests up as patrols increase

Police: DUI arrests up as patrols increase

By Ross Hager
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday, October 5, 2005

A spike in DUI arrests throughout the campus area in 2004 is the result of increased funds and long-term efforts made by a statewide drinking and driving task force, police said.

The University of Arizona Police Department Annual Campus Safety and Security Report released earlier this month stated that 120 driving under the influence arrests were made in 2004, compared to 37 arrests in 2003.

University of Arizona Police Department spokesman Sgt. Eugene Mejia said he credits the increase to the creation of a statewide DUI Task Force.

The task force is a joint effort between Arizona law enforcement agencies that combine forces when patrolling on major holidays and "party" weekends.

"For those who choose to drive under the influence, they need to understand we have a task force ready to take you off the road," Mejia said.

The Southern Arizona DUI task force, which is part of the statewide task force, was created in 1991 following the death of two police officers who were killed by a drunk driver while investigating a DUI fatality, said Sgt. Ed Slechta, who helped to create the task force.

The task force's main concerns are educating drivers and young people of the risks of drunk driving and teaching them that if you drive drunk, you will get caught, Slechta said.

The task force patrols on 14 major holidays throughout the year and increases patrols in November and December, Slechta said.

While on patrol, the officers concentrate their efforts on a few problems areas.

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