Probation Department Receives Grant to Combat DUIs

Probation Department Receives Grant to Combat DUIs

The Tulare County Probation Department has been awarded a new traffic safety grant for a year-long program aimed at preventing deaths and injuries resulting from driving under the influence (DUI).  

The $75,000 Intensive Probation Supervision for High-Risk Felony and Repeat DUI Offenders grant awarded by the Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) to Tulare County will aid in the county’s ongoing effort to improve traffic safety and the quality of life. Special probation supervision measures will target high-risk, felony and repeat DUI offenders in Tulare County.  The Probation Department will also work with other local law enforcement agencies on anti-DUI efforts as part of an on-going commitment to keep roadways safe through both enforcement and education.

Tulare County Chief Probation Officer Christie Myer said the intent of the Tulare County DUI Probation Supervision Program is to respond quickly and aggressively to felony DUI offenders through the assignment of a full-time Probation Officer.

“Felony Driving Under the Influence is a serious offense and convicted offenders require close probation supervision to ensure compliance with the terms of their release and immediate consequences for violations - including re-arrest,” Chief Myer said. “Probation Officers have been working DUI checkpoints with local law enforcement agencies for several years.  Involvement by the Probation Department has resulted in the arrest of probation violators, increased program involvement, greater collaboration among law enforcement and safer communities.”

The grant is aimed at reducing the number of persons killed and injured in alcohol and other drug related collisions in the county.  Funded strategies include intensive supervision, unannounced home contacts and searches, surveillance operations, highly publicized warrant service operations, alcohol and drug testing, and the distribution of “Hot Sheets” to local law enforcement agencies.

The grant will assist in efforts to deal with high risk DUI offenders who pose a significant risk to our communities.  Funded activities will include the increased monitoring of treatment and DUI program participation, warrant sweeps, unannounced residence searches, and random alcohol/drug testing to ensure compliance with court-ordered terms of probation.

Drunk driving is one of America’s deadliest crimes. In 2010, nationally10,225 people died in highway crashes involving a driver or motorcycle operator with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher.  In California, the number killed was 791.

“California’s DUI death totals dropped significantly for five years,” said Christopher J. Murphy, Director of the Office of Traffic Safety.  “But as the economy improves and people have more to celebrate, we don’t want those figures to go back up.  An effective way to combat that is through insuring these serious DUI offenders aren’t on a path back to drunk or drugged driving.”

Funding for this program is from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.