Grant funds SDSUPD DUI patrols

Sarah Smith, Senior Staff Photographer

by Brooke Martell, Staff Writer

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San Diego State Police Department was recently awarded a $20,000 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

SDSUPD Lieutenant Mike O’Deane said the grant funds will help the department educate the community on the dangers of drunk driving. The grant was partially implemented  for the DUI checkpoint that was seen on College Avenue on Oct. 31, which resulted in six DUI-related arrests.

SDSUPD’s September monthly report, which is the most recent online, shows 37 DUI arrests were made in 2014, including 13 drivers who were younger than 21.

While some students might dread a DUI checkpoint, other students find it as an opportunity to increase safety and awareness of drunk drivers.

SDSU junior Saumon Elhaiesahar is in favor of having more DUI checkpoints, not only throughout the immediate college area, but also in unexpected locations.

“I would personally like to see more checkpoints, but random checkpoints in random areas,” Elhaiesahar said. “Not only will that diminish DUI-related accidents, but it will also increase law enforcement.”

During major holidays that are often associated with drinking, such as the Fourth of July, saturation patrols commonly stop drivers who may be under the influence. O’Deane said the grant will fund eight saturation patrols, which roam during those peak times.

“Saturation patrols are roving patrols during peak times throughout the year, such as New Year’s Eve and Fourth of July, in an effort to reduce drunk driving,” O’Deane said.

Students such as senior Sabrina Salvatierra are happy to see this money going toward DUI checkpoints after experiencing the effects of drinking and driving.

“As someone who has experienced a friend passing away because of a drunk driver, I am happy there will be an increase in awareness,” Salvatierra said. “Getting a DUI is not fun, but taking a life or losing a life is a lot worse.”

The grant is also focusing on employing additional officers and training them to monitor the designated checkpoints. The Standard Field Sobriety Test, Advance Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement and Drug Recognition Expert are all training courses the grant is funding. These courses serve as the training for officers to identify drivers who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

It is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 per cent. Drivers younger than 21 are held to zero to tolerance laws.

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