TUCSON, Ariz. — The holidays are a busy time for law enforcement. The Governor's Office of Highway Safety released a report that says the number of traffic stops continue to increase year after year. In 2016 there were more than 38,000 stops; and in 2018, more than 53,000.
"Well, you know we have 82 agencies that participate with us in all the different DUI task forces. In Southern Arizona, it's the same way, from Sierra Vista to Yuma to, of course, in Tucson, they're all going to be working on the task force for the next few days to keep everyone of us safe," said Alberto Gutier, the director of the Arizona Governor's Office of Highway Safety.
Total DUI arrests during Thanksgiving and Christmas time: in 2016 Arizona officers had 1,655 arrests. In 2017, that number grew by 50. But in 2018, the number jumped by 221.
Also on the rise, the number of DUI Drug arrests. This details the amount of people who were arrested that were under the influence of narcotics. This is a more concerning statistic for Gutier.
"That's scary for me when it jumps from 500 almost to 648. What we see is quite a few combinations of alcohol and drugs," said Gutier.
Gutier says a new statewide program launched this year, called Search Warrant for Blood, is the first of its kind in the country. He partially credits the number of DUI Drug arrests to this system.
"An officer can actually get a search warrant for blood within 10 minutes. An officer can get on the computer, contact a superior court commissioner that will issue a search warrant. That search warrant will allow us to draw blood. Blood is much better than breath when it comes to identifying what the real content is in regards to alcohol or drugs or something else," said Gutier.
The other credit, is to the number of officers the state is putting on the ground. With an increase of more than 2,500 from last year.