The Tucson Police Department's DUI squad will lose half of its officers next week, which means that three nights out of the week there will be no DUI enforcement officers patrolling the Tuscon roads. According to the Arizona Daily Star, the DUI Squad will go from 14 members down to seven members starting December 5.
The cut in DUI enforcement officers is part of the many cost-saving measures being taken by the Tucson Police Department in response to budget cuts. Around the holidays, Tucson police typically deploy a special DUI task force with checkpoints and saturation patrols throughout the city. The Tucson Police Department is reportedly one of 65 law enforcement agencies that receives funding from the Arizona Governor's Office of Highway Safety for such DUI enforcement measures.
Lt. Lew Bentley told Arizona Daily Star that Tucson received a DUI grant for $118,000 for the fiscal year of 2011, but that this amount is $62,000 less than the department received for the fiscal year of 2010. The Office of Highway Safety lost $2.9 million in federal funding this fiscal year because the state had a decrease in traffic fatalities last year.
With a limited number of DUI enforcement officers, it's now less likely that a person will be arrested for DUI when driving through the streets of Tucson. Yet during the holiday season, Tucson police officers will continue to conduct checkpoints and saturation patrols every weekend from now until New Year's Day. If you're arrested after driving through a checkpoint, be sure to contact an Arizona DUI attorney so that you can be informed of your legal rights during court proceedings.