Thursday, October 22, 2009

Fewer DUI arrests in Mesa - Good or Bad news?

Normally, a decline in DUI arrests would be considered a good thing, right? One could assume it meant fewer impaired drivers on the streets and that the harsher DUI laws are working. The Mesa Police Association doesn't think so.

The Mesa Police Association believes that the reduction in DUI arrests is a function of the decentralized enforcement system that has been implemented along with policy changes requiring all offenders to be taken into custody. They argue that the shift of focus from DUI enforcement to overall patrol is the cause of the reduction in arrests.

So, the real question is: are DUI arrests down because there are fewer people committing this crime or because there are fewer people enforcing it? Have DUI casualties gone up? Have property damage and collisions gone up? What are the trends like in other communities?

Its easy to guarantee that something will go up if there are more officers to enforce it. That is true of any type of enforcement. If more officers were looking for drug dealers, they would probably net more arrests as well. The question is, is Mesa being dramatically underserved now in its DUI enforcement because of these policy changes?

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