Over the last three years, Staunton’s law enforcement has been the most stringent by area authorities, according to statistics. In 2006, Staunton police arrested 121 motorists and in 2007, this number jumped to 183. Last year, there were 174 DUI arrests.
When Officer Lisa Klein, a spokeswoman for the Staunton Police Department, was asked why the number of arrests went down in 2008, she said that she thought the public was getting the message that driving under the influence in Staunton was not going to be tolerated. “I do think people are responding. We’ve been hitting it pretty hard,” said Klein.
According to Klein, there were no directives from top brass to target intoxicated drivers, but the fresh batch of police officers could have had an affect on the number of DUI arrests.
Staunton law enforcement has led the way in DUI arrests with a total of 478 arrests over the past three years. Waynesboro arrested 395 suspected drunk drivers and the Augusta County Sheriff’s Office arrested 195 drivers. Area 17 was placed first in “Operation Checkpoint Strikeforce” two of the last three years.
Miles Bobbit, director of Staunton’s Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program (VASAP) said that DUI referrals to his organization have been increasing by 100 per year. He said that the agency is on track to continue that trend this year.
The financial costs of a DUI arrest are high, which include towing bills, storage fees, court costs and fines, jail costs, lost work days, VASAP expenses and increased insurance fees.
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