As DUI awareness becomes more of an outspoken issue on campus this semester, many law enforcement officials are hoping to break the rising trend of increasing numbers of DUIs issued in the Fort Collins area.
Last year, Fort Collins Police Department reported that they issued a total of 476 DUIs, Larimer County Sheriff’s Office another 1,034 and CSU Police Department issuing 265.
Though the total number of DUIs issued from the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office has declined since 2003, when the number of DUIs exceeded 1,300, numbers still appear to be on the high side.
“We find that a lot of our arrests are people leaving the bars,” said Carol Downing, the administrator for LCSO’s Operations Division.
As of Oct. 16, the LCSO had reported a total of 847 DUIs in 2009 alone. When Downing was asked what the cause was for these high statistics, she said it was a number of things.
“Well, part of the reason is that our guys are pretty aggressive,” Downing said. “We have guys on the street now who are younger, and they are looking for driving violations and people driving erratically.” Downing also noted that many of the people arrested due to a DUI violation are repeat offenders.
According to statistics provided by Joan Williams, CSUPD Records manager, they have also recently seen an increase in DUIs./ In 2007, 166 DUIs were issued, while last year the number grew to 265./
This month last year, CSUPD issued 24 DUIs.
Chris Wolf, a CSUPD lieutenant, said that on any given night, officers on duty have different priorities and focuses. If an officer is focusing more on traffic enforcement, they will consequently have a greater chance of encountering someone who may be driving under the influence.
“Officers working the prime DUI times in 2008 were likely more focused on traffic enforcement than those working in 2007,” Wolf said in an e-mail to the Collegian. “Under the current administration, the CSUPD is taking a balanced approach to policing.”
Wolf said that the department’s No. 1 priority is the safety of the CSU campus.
“We still place a high priority on safe driving behavior and traffic enforcement to reinforce that, but that is also being balanced with more aggressive patrolling of university property and a higher level of interaction with the university community.”
Staff writer Katelyn McNamara can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.