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Grant aids probation departments crackdown on DUI offenders
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A new grant aimed at taking drunken drivers off the road is going to help the Stanislaus County Probation Department target some of the most frequent offenders.

The $49,000 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, will allow probationers to focus their efforts on the “worst-of-the-worst offenders,” said Steve Jackson, the probation department division director.

Felony and repeat misdemeanor DUI offenders are over represented in traffic crashes involving alcohol or other drugs, according to the NHTSA.

In 2010, nationally 10,225 people died in highway crashes involving a driver or motorcycle operator with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher.  In California, the number killed was 791. In Stanislaus County there were 267 people injured in DUI crashes and 15 killed in 2010.

“California’s DUI death totals dropped significantly for five years,” said Christopher J. Murphy, director of the Office of Traffic Safety.  “But as the economy improves and people have more to celebrate, we don’t want those figures to go back up.  An effective way to combat that is through insuring these serious DUI offenders aren’t on a path back to drunk or drugged driving.”

The Intensive Probation Supervision for High-Risk Felony and Repeat DUI Offenders grant is aimed at reducing the number of persons killed and injured in alcohol and other drug related collisions in the county. The grant will fund additional probation checks for individuals convicted of felony or multiple misdemeanors for driving under the influence. Supervision for these high-risk offenders will include unannounced home searches, random alcohol and drug testing and monitoring to ensure compliance with court-ordered DUI education and treatment programs. 

The Stanislaus County Probation Department will also collaborate with other local law enforcement agencies to conduct DUI/Driver license checkpoints and warrant service operations targeting individuals who fail to make court appearances after DUI arrests.

“Funding from the Office of Traffic Safety will continue to provide the department the needed resources to supervise these offenders and ensure compliance with their terms and conditions of probation,” said Chief Probation Officer Jill Silva.