Grant reimburses city for downtown DUI abatement costs

An officer using a breathalyzer. (photo by Scottsdale Police Department)

The state of Arizona has granted the city of Scottsdale and local police department a $150,000 grant for reducing drunk drivers.

Scottsdale City Council approved the acceptance of the 2018 DUI abatement grant from the state of Arizona on behalf of the Oversight Council on Driving or Operating Under the Influence Abatement.

The resolution was approved on consent during a Dec. 5 council meeting at City Hall, 3939 N. Drinkwater Blvd.

The Scottsdale Police Department says it has embraced a three-pronged approach to keep impaired drivers off city streets. The strategy includes increased officer training, increased enforcement staffing, and increased education, according to a city staff report prepared by Assistant Chief of Police, Jeff Walther.

In addition to enforcement, the department took a proactive approach to educate citizens on the harmful effects of drunk driving, and created the Know Your Limit program.

The Know Your Limit program allows residents to blow into a testing device to see the level of their blood alcohol prior to deciding to get behind the wheel of a vehicle.

“After a couple years of testing, the program has grown to be a huge success, allowing over 500 officers to have direct contact with over 40,000 citizens (by the citizen’s choice) since 2014,” Mr. Walther stated in the report.

“The Department believes the program has been integral in reducing the number of alcohol-associated fatalities, impaired drivers contacted on the roadway, and allowed the Department to build significant trust within the community.”

Moreover, the department has developed and implemented an Alternative Transportation Safety Program.

As Scottsdale’s downtown entertainment district grew in popularity, and the use of alternative transportation increased, safety concerns such as impaired taxicab and golf cart drivers, insufficient passenger protection (seatbelts), and pedi-cabs operated in an unsafe manner and not obeying traffic laws have arisen, the report stated.

SPD took the lead on addressing these safety concerns with the support of previous DUI abatement grant funds. With the new grant, the state of Arizona will reimburse the city for overtime costs and employee related expenses up to $150,000 for related DUI enforcement and education activities.

Northeast Valley News Services Editor Melissa Fittro can be e-mailed at mfittro@newszap.com or can be followed on Twitter at twitter.com/melissafittro.

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