For those who don't know, Orlando Police Department has a part-time DUI enforcement unit that patrols the streets every Thursday and Friday night in an effort to make the roadways safer. Their goal in 2012 was to arrest more drivers under the influence of drugs and alcohol, and Captain Christopher Chaplin exceeded his goal by 100 arrests officer. Multiply this by the 10 officers participating in this special unit, and there is a tremendous increase in the safety on Orlando streets last year.
Capt. Chaplin firmly believes that the DUI task force is saving lives. He believes that DUIs are a completely preventable crime; don't drive if you have had even one drink because unfortunately you could still be over the legal limit. Drivers should not consider this crime to be insignificant because every year DUI is a matter of life and death for many individuals.
In the summer of 2012, Chief Paul Rooney equipped several new patrol cars, replacing retired vehicles. These vehicles were equipped with cameras front and back, as well as being marked as DUI units. These increased efforts enforced accelerated the project.
The Florida Department of Transportation funded the part-time DUI enforcement project with a $100,000 grant in 2012. The funds were used to pay the officers who worked the extra hours on Thursday/Friday from 8pm to 4am, the typical hours drunk drivers are out on the road. In the month of December, considering the holidays, the operation included Saturday night.
On Friday nights, Orange County added an additional DUI operation, so together these enforcement units totally cover the streets of Orlando. No one should be on the street while impaired because the odds of being stopped are significantly higher. With Capt. Chaplin's reference to DUIs as being a preventable crime, there are obvious ways to stay out of trouble.
- The Tow-To-Go program with AAA tows a vehicle and two people in a crisis situation.
- "A cab ride home is cheaper than getting a DUI," says Chaplin.
- Call a friend.
- Stay where you are until you sober up, especially at a friend's house.
A partial list of what the team accomplished in 2012 is 3,463 traffic stops. These stops produced 1,392 citations, 25 felony and 72 misdemeanor arrests. There was a total of over 275 DUI arrests.