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Checkpoints to eye DUIs

Glendale police will be adding enforcement during the holidays.

December 25, 2009|By Veronica Rocha

GLENDALE — Drivers who take to the road after sipping a couple of alcoholic drinks at a holiday party stand a greater chance of landing in jail this weekend.

Glendale police are planning to crack down on drunk drivers at checkpoints Saturday and Jan. 2 as part of the Avoid the 100 campaign, an aggressive, two-week period in Los Angeles County aimed at stopping motorists from driving under the influence.

Saturday’s checkpoint will be heavily staffed with officers, including Burbank police, and community service officers, who will handle vehicle impounding, Glendale Police Sgt. Dennis Smith said.

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“I am all for having fun and getting together, but if you are going to drink, don’t drive,” he said.

Last year, Glendale police arrested 10 people during holiday checkpoints, four for allegedly driving under the influence of alcohol.

Glendale and Burbank police also plan to conduct patrols Dec. 31 of busy streets and neighborhoods where they most frequently stop drunk drivers.

The roving patrols have led to more DUI arrests than checkpoints because officers are specifically looking for drunk-driving habits, such as swerving and weaving in and out of lanes, Smith said.

While DUI patrols tend to yield more arrests, the checkpoints can alert drivers on the risks of drunk driving when they see cars impounded and their owners being arrested, police said.

“I think the word gets out there when they see us stopping vehicles, and that kind of gives them the message to think before driving if you have been drinking,” Burbank Police Sgt. Tom Kister said.

Drunk-driving deaths dropped 9.1% in California between 2007 and 2008, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Still, police arrested 214,811 people statewide for drunk driving in 2008, according to the California Office of Traffic Safety.

On Dec. 18, Burbank police arrested three people for driving under the influence during a checkpoint at Lake Street and Olive Avenue. Police also cited four unlicensed drivers, officials said.

“We are getting better, and our people are starting to learn the law, and that is no drinking and driving,” Kister said.

Police also cited two drivers, who were allegedly racing each other up to the checkpoint, he said.

“They didn’t know we were there until they got to us,” Kister said.


Get in touch VERONICA ROCHA covers public safety and the courts. She may be reached at (818) 637-3232 or by e-mail at veronica.rocha@ latimes.com.

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