Probation DUI Enforcement Team Makes a Difference

The San Diego County Probation Department was awarded $575,000 in state grant funding to support a DUI Enforcement Team, which has resulted in a reduction of repeat drunk driving offenders.

“Many people will be on the roads to visit family and celebrate the holidays over the next few weeks, and this program helps keep our roads safer by closely supervising high-risk DUI offenders to make sure they don’t drive while impaired,” said Mack Jenkins, Chief Probation Officer.

The funding for the program was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The County Probation DUI Enforcement Team supervises about 700 felony DUI offenders on probation who have serious offenses such as multiple DUIs or a DUI where someone has been injured or killed. 

Since the program began in July 2006, the nine-member team has been able to make significant strides in keeping felony DUI probationers compliant with the terms of their release. Overall, the annual recidivism rate for high risk DUI offenders on intensive supervision was just 1 percent in 2008-2009 and 3.6 percent in 2009-2010. Nationally, about one-third of all DUI arrests are repeat offenders.

The program involves intensive supervision of high-risk offenders through methods such as unannounced visits, random alcohol testing and frequent appointments with the probationers. Team members work with other agencies on special operations such as DUI checkpoints, warrant service, and saturation patrols in specific areas.

Since the program began, 340 probationers have been arrested, most of them for violating probation by drinking alcohol.

“These figures represent more people making it home safely and alive each day,” said Christopher J. Murphy, Director of the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS).  “But to keep this trend going, we will continue to strive to meet our vision  toward zero deaths, every one counts.”