Spike in local DUIs stems from better staffing levels, police chief says
Local law enforcement officials are attributing a spike in DUI arrests over the past weekend to better staffing and more coverage capabilities.
On Monday, the Moffat County Sheriff’s Office reported there were six bookings into the county jail from Friday, Sept. 30, to Sunday, Oct. 2, for driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Several of the DUI arrests came with additional charges for other offenses, including reckless driving, violation of a criminal protection order, illegal possession and use of weapons, and false reporting to authorities.
Altogether, there were 10 total arrests over the weekend, and three were non-DUI arrests related to theft, burglary, assault and felony weapons charges.
Craig Police Chief Michael Cochran has said that crimes against persons and property crimes have been rising both locally and nationally, and it appears that DUI arrests have also trended in the same direction.
Previous Craig police activity reports for DUI arrests show five in April, two in May, four in June, five in July and seven in August.
Additionally, Cochran confirmed that the number of DUIs from last year has increased 33% from 2021 to 2022, with six DUIs in September last year and eight in the same month this year.
There has also been a 10% increase in the total number of DUI arrests year to date. From Jan. 1, 2021, to Sept. 30, 2021, there were 39 DUIs on record, compared with 43 during the same time period this year.
Cochran said he can only attribute the rise in DUI arrests to current staffing levels. In 2021, the department was down seven officers, which led to only having two patrol officers per shift, running from one call to the next.
Over the past year, though, the department has filled four patrol positions with officers recently graduating from the academy and going through the field training with the department. Two of those officers passed field training and were able to start patrolling on their own in early September.
In fact, current staffing levels allow the department to have a supervisor and two officers per 12-hour shift, which runs from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. or 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. There is also a split shift that provides a fourth officer from noon to midnight.
With four officers at peak times, Cochran said, the department is able to address traffic issues more effectively.
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