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July 20, 2010 > 'Avoid the 21' named best in state

'Avoid the 21' named best in state

Submitted By Jan Ford

"Avoid the 21," Alameda County's law enforcement crackdown on drunk driving, has been named Best Multi-Jurisdictional Effort in the state for 2009 by the California Law Enforcement Challenge. The California Highway Patrol and the state's Office of Traffic Safety (OTS), sponsors of the competition, lauded the 12-year-old crackdown on its officer training, policies, public information, officer recognition, enforcement, and results.

There are 41 similar countywide crackdowns in California, all sponsored by OTS through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The Avoid campaigns are the largest funded statewide crackdowns in the United States, according to NHTSA.

"Multi-agency DUI enforcement campaigns are collectively making tremendous impacts at lowering deaths and injuries in our communities," said OTS Director Christopher J. Murphy. "By combining resources, targeting DUI problem areas, enhancing training, and by providing public awareness of the dangers of DUI, as the Avoid campaigns do, the traffic safety community is confident that we will see more lives saved." Police agencies in Alameda County made 897 DUI arrests during a 17-day enforcement effort at the end of last year, trailing only Los Angeles County, which had 2,622 in handcuffs for the crime.

"The Avoid the 21 coalition is a strong leader in the Bay Area," said Lt. Ava Garavatti of the Livermore Police Dept. and campaign coordinator. "It is gratifying to our fine DUI officers and deputies to be named best in the state. It is a real tribute to their skill and determination."

Second place went to "Avoid the 8" in San Francisco. Tied for third were "Avoid the 18" in Monterey County and "Avoid the 12" in Santa Barbara County. Jan Ford of Palo Alto is public information director for all four multi-jurisdictional category winners.

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