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Redmond police join the statewide DUI crackdown

About a decade ago, it wouldn’t have been out of the ordinary for the Redmond Police Department (RPD) to arrest 12-15 individuals per night for driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs.

Nowadays, that number has been reduced to about five or fewer arrests per night and RPD traffic officer Sande English said this has been the result of the agency’s participation in Target Zero, a statewide effort funded by the Washington Traffic Safety Commission (WTSC) aimed to end traffic deaths and serious injuries by 2030.

According to the program’s website (targetzero.com), Target Zero’s strategy focuses the Four E’s:

Education, giving drivers information to make the best choices; enforcement, using driver behavior data to help pinpoint locations where the most serious collisions occur; engineering, using best practices to prevent or reduce the severity of collisions; and emergency medical services, providing high-quality and rapid emergency and medical response to injury collisions.

Through Target Zero, English said law enforcement agencies work together on DUI patrols, often targeting specific areas at certain times such as during the holidays, sporting events or big events such as Seafair, during which people tend to consume a lot of alcohol.

“During the holidays, it’s typically on the weekends,” she said about the DUI patrols.

The King County Target Zero Task Force is divided into north and south Target Zero teams. The north King County team is further divided into two teams with Redmond and other Eastside agencies on one team and Seattle and other agencies on the west side of Lake Washington on the other team.

“We all work together,” English said.

During the recent holiday season, Target Zero ran a statewide campaign called Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over, which targeted drunken driving. The campaign ran from Nov. 21 to Jan. 1 and RPD was one of 28 King County agencies to participate.

Preliminary numbers show that the RPD made 28 DUI-related arrests during this time period, with more than a third of these arrests occurring during the week leading up to Christmas.

Crime prevention officer Michael Dowd said that 28 represents overall DUI arrests, not just those made on Drive Sober patrol nights.

Statewide, law enforcement officers made 3,446 DUI-related arrests through the Drive Sober campaign, according to a WTSC press release. In King County, 795 motorists were stopped and arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs — down from 960 arrests made during the same time period last year. For additional information, visit www.wtsc.wa.gov.

English has been with RPD for 16 and a half years — since before Target Zero began — and said seeing the number of DUI arrests go down has been huge.

“The message is starting to get out there, which is the ultimate goal,” she said.

English said when people see a lot of patrol cars out on the streets, they will most likely think twice about driving if they’d been drinking, adding that it has also helped that there are more taxis available so people have a safe alternative to driving while drunk.

In addition to the dangers of drunken driving, English said it is also expensive. She said a DUI arrest may cost someone up to $15,000 to $20,000 when you include court fees, attorney fees and increased car insurance payments.

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