Dec 28, 2011 11:40 PM by John Romero

Police use new tactics in DUI crackdowns

Well over 1300 people have been busted for drunk driving in the state since Thanksgiving Week according to the Colorado State Patrol. Investigators report there were 14 fatal crashes during that time that were alcohol related. The holiday season is always a big time for drunken driving arrests. As we head in to the New Year, police will be out in force.

Gone are the days of dui checkpoints in Colorado Springs. When Mayor Steve Bach took over earlier this year he got rid of the program, in favor of high visibility patrols. There was some controversy surrounding the move, but Lt. Adrian Vasquez, who oversees CSPD's dui enforcement, says it's actually working "We've come to a realization that we actually get more bang for the buck from high visibility enforcements." he explains.

It's important to note that there are no stats available yet to back up the claims that saturation patrols are more effective than checkpoints. Police tell us they expect the year end dui numbers to be out very soon. Lieutenant Vasquez says police have identified dui hot spots around town like the bars around Tejon in the downtown area. Instead of setting up a checkpoint, now officers fan out looking for drunk drivers. "We would pick those areas based on varying factors and we would saturate that area with a large number of dui officers." he explains.

After the decision was made to do away with checkpoints, there was a big fear the state would pull funding for the mobile unit police use to check blood alcohol levels. Now it looks like it's here to stay and with saturation patrols now in place, it could also be more effective. "The officers have a very quick turnaround." Explains Lt. Vasquez, "They can go there (BAT Van) and they can get either blood or breath and they can get right back out on the road after processing that dui."

So before you decide to drive on New Year's you'd better think twice. The law will be watching.

Many bars around town are participating in programs over New Year's that will give patrons a free cab ride home. There is also an app for smart phones that can help you monitor what your blood alcohol level may be when you're drinking. CDOT sponsors it. CLICK HERE for the link.



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