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Checkpoint nets arrests, citations

The arrest total through November is higher than the yearly total of drunk- driving arrests in the city for the previous five years.

December 20, 2006|By Chris Wiebe

BURBANK — Stepped-up enforcement of drunken-driving laws on Burbank streets resulted in several arrests and more than a dozen driver citations on Friday.

At a driver's license and sobriety checkpoint on San Fernando Boulevard and Delaware Road, Burbank Police Department officers screened about 1,000 cars between 8 p.m. Friday and 1 a.m. Saturday morning, Lt. Ron Caruso said.

Officers made three driving-under-the-influence arrests, as well an arrest of one driver on an outstanding driving-under-the- influence warrant, he said.

Sobriety and driver's-license checkpoints typically generate two to six arrests, depending on the number of vehicles that officers inspect, he said.

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Other checkpoints will be set up in the coming months, but the Police Department is waiting to announce any future dates or locations until they get closer, he said.

Historically, the holiday seasons tend to bring more intense drunken-driving enforcement, Sgt. Kevin Grandalski said.

"Because there are a lot of holiday celebrations, we typically will have a DUI checkpoint in December around the holidays," he said.

The checkpoint was funded through a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, which requires that the department use the funds to conduct a minimum of three checkpoints between October 2006 and September 2007, Caruso said.

"The goal of the program for local agencies is to reduce the number of people injured and killed in alcohol-related accidents," Caruso said.

So far in 2006, the Burbank Police Department has recorded 229 arrests for drunken driving, with 41 arrests occurring in November, the most active month for drunken-driving arrests, he said.

The 11-month total is higher than the annual total of drunk-driving arrests for the previous five years, he added.

"We are continuing to try to make the roads safe by targeting DUI enforcement," he said.

The department tracks where alcohol-related collisions and arrests occur most frequently when setting up checkpoint locations, he said.

Officers also make sure a location will be a safe place to conduct vehicle stops, with adequate street lighting and good road conditions, as well as not disrupting the nearby neighborhood.

"If you put it in the wrong spot you can really create a traffic hazard or back-up," he said. "The other thing we do is once we monitor the back-up traffic, we'll alter the selection criteria of traffic screened."

When backed-up traffic makes it unfeasible to stop every car that passes through the checkpoint, officers use a "predetermined neutral formula," such us screening six cars, letting six cars pass through unscreened, and so on, he said.

The Police Department usually bolsters its staffing during the holidays for both retail thefts and driving-under-the-influence enforcements.

In addition to the alcohol-related arrests on Friday, officers issued six driving infractions and 11 misdemeanor citations, for offenses such as license violations, open-container-law violations and marijuana possession, he said.


  • CHRIS WIEBE covers City Hall and the courts. He may be reached at (818) 637-3242 or by e-mail at chris.wiebelatimes.com.

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