Police agencies use traffic stop funds
For at least the past seven years, local law enforcement agencies have received state and federal grants to increase and expand police DUI coverage. Much of the money spent is part of a special fund available to law enforcement agencies and most of the funding is available for use whenever the individual agencies want to use it. Other portions are usually made available around the holidays.
"We don't tend to do checkpoints (like other parts of the state). We do more of a saturation kind of thing. A guy comes on for a shift and all he has to do is look for traffic violations. They're able to be pretty productive and make a lot of traffic stops. We end up with a lot of outstanding warrants, seat belt violations and DUIs," said Bill Barnes, Price City Police.
During the year, the Price police department receives around $6186.73 in reimbursements from these programs and uses the funds to pay overtime hours for officers to look for traffic violations. Last year, in Price, according to the police records from July 1, 2009 to Dec. 31, 2009, officers utilizing the program pulled over 207 vehicles, issued 108 warnings, wrote 128 citations and made six DUI arrests and five warrant arrests. Within that period, Price police worked 36 overtime shifts under the program and $11,260 was collected in bail bonds from arrests made.????
The highway patrol also takes part, making around three DUI busts over the holidays in Carbon, Emery and surrounding areas. They work around 10 shifts over the holidays.
During the holidays, a statewide fund of around $200,000 is established to increase coverage for the two-week period ending near New Year's Day. As with the year- round program, no specific time frame is set. Individual departments choose which hours to work.
"We have several campaigns throughout the year, typically on Labor Day and?New Year's Day," said Terri Pectol, program manager for the impaired driver division at the state highway office.
The main program, which is also part of a national endeavor, is granted $400,000 per year to pay officers overtime to look for DUIs. For an agency to receive part of the money, it must apply for it. Statewide, around 90 law enforcement departments forcement departments have been granted money. The money is typically disbursed throughout the year in quarters and is done so in amounts the agencies request.
"Last year, we had around 28 DUI and sobriety checkpoints all over the state. I think it was a big deterrent, because a lot of people saw what was going on and decided to not drink and drive," said Ted Tingey, law enforcement liaison officer for the state of Utah.
The overtime shifts are typically five hours long. According to Tingey, the program has been an influential factor on Utah's status as having the lowest number of DUIs in the country.
The programs get most of their funding from impounded vehicles that are taken in during DUI arrests, so they technically don't cost the public much, except for patrol car maintenance and gas.