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APD Triples DUI Enforcement, Adds Volunteer Patrols

By Mallory Peebles, Crime and Law Enforcement, Natural Resources and Parks Reporter, Fill-in Anchor, mpeebles@ktuu.com
Published On: Dec 31 2013 06:25:50 PM AKST
Updated On: Dec 31 2013 06:33:35 PM AKST

Anchorage Police Plan to Triple DUI Patrols on New Year's Eve

ANCHORAGE -

The Anchorage Police Department wants their message to be clear for those celebrating New Years Eve: if you plan to drink, plan not to drive.

"If you can take enough time to plan on where you're going tonight and what you're wearing and who you're going to meet up with, then why not throw the extra ten to 30 seconds in there to think about how (you are) going to get home?" says APD spokesperson Jennifer Castro. 

Starting at 11 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, Anchorage police will field ten officers dedicated to responding to DUIs. Castro says on most holidays, there are three or four officers dedicated to DUI enforcement. Funding for the extra officers is coming from the Alaska Highway Safety Office.

In addition to APD's officers, six volunteers from the Anchorage Police Citizens Academy Alumni Association will be patrolling streets in their personal vehicles. 

"People still don't get the message,” says APCAAA President Nick Hornshuh. “So we're going to see if we can go out there and fix some of those people up, get them off the streets."

The volunteer drunk driving patrol group was started after four people died this year due to drunk drivers. In June, Citari Townes-Sweatt was killed; in July, Marci Mausali was killed; and in August, Brooke McPheters and Jordyn Durr were killed. 

In addition to those incidents, Stephen Kenny died on August 17 when police say he got behind the wheel drunk. His passenger survived.

APD says even if you're below the legal blood alcohol limit, you can still get a DUI if you're involved in an accident.

"It is true that if you're driving and you get into an accident and we are suspecting you of being impaired … you can still be charged with a DUI in the state of Alaska, even if you're under the .08," Castro says.

Fines for a first time misdemeanor DUI can start at $1,500.