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December 21, 2004 > Avoid the 21

Avoid the 21

Police officers, sheriff's deputies and California Highway Patrol officers throughout Alameda County will be on high alert for intoxicated drivers during the 17-day Avoid the 21 DUI crackdown beginning Friday, Dec. 17 and continuing until New Year's Day.

Ten sobriety checkpoints, two massive interagency teams, four days of CHP freeway saturation, overtime, hours adjustments and extra in-city patrols are on the enforcement calendar, said Chief Steve Krull of the Livermore Police Department who chairs the campaign for the sponsoring Alameda County Chiefs of Police and Sheriff's Association.

"Avoid the 21 was recognized as a national model for interagency DUI campaigns with two first-place awards at the International Association of Chiefs of Police conference in November," Krull said. "Anyone who makes the uninformed decision to drink or take drugs and drive this holiday season will find out the reasons for that recognition."

A DUI strike team consisting of 150 officers and deputies from 19 departments will have its briefing and advanced DUI training at 7:30 p.m. in Castro Valley on Friday, opening night. The team will be on the road until 3 a.m. countywide, said Sgt. Dave Brady of the Alameda County Sheriff's Office, team commander.

The same night will see sobriety checkpoints in Fremont and Hayward, with Dublin and Oakland checkpoints on Saturday. Other checkpoints are set for Fremont on Tuesday, Dec. 21; for Newark Thursday, Dec. 23, in Fremont again on Wednesday, Dec. 29, in Newark on Thursday, Dec. 30 and in Oakland on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.

A 24-officer team of Oakland police and Oakland CHP officers will be on special traffic patrol on Friday night, said CHP Sgt. Dennis Gregorich. The same team will patrol Saturday night, Thursday, Dec. 23; New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.

Eighty-five officers from 18 departments will go out after DUI suspects during and after the Oakland Raiders game against the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, Dec. 19. "We don't want the Coliseum to export intoxicated drivers to every city in the Bay Area," said Lt. David Kozicki of the Oakland police, team commander.

CHP officers from the Castro Valley, Dublin, Hayward and Oakland area commands will field 75 to 80 percent of their available officers over the Christmas and New Year's weekends.

New Year's weekend plans call for a DUI team in Hayward and a 150-officer deployment in Oakland.

Officers arrested 1115 DUI suspects during last year's Avoid the 21 winter campaign, a record, and up three and half times from the 320 total the year before its 1998 beginning. A total of 4,418 suspected intoxicated drivers have been taken into custody; alcohol-related injury and fatal crashes fell by half, from 50 to 25 last year.

Police in Albany, Berkeley, Dublin, Emeryville, Fremont, Hayward, Livermore, Oakland, San Leandro and all four CHP area commands plan overtime hours. Sheriff's deputies and police in Berkeley and Livermore plan to adjust patrol hours to cover prime DUI times. Departments covering Dublin, Emeryville, Livermore, Oakland, Pleasanton and the University of California will deploy special DUI teams.

Avoid the 21, named for the 21 police agencies in Alameda County, is part of a nine-county Regional Avoid Campaign in the Bay Area. Funding is from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the Business, Transportation and Housing Agency.

 
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