Florence, Ariz. – Our Pinal County Regional DUI Task Force was created in March of 2009 and in less than one year we achieved top tier ranking of 3rd place out of all 16 DUI task forces in Arizona. Our new Motorcycle Team headed up by Sgt. Matt Thomas, worked closely with all local Police Departments. We worked 5 nights per week in December and arrested nearly 200 impaired drivers.
We continue to work every holiday and major events with our high profile and zero tolerance program. When working these special details, we maintain full coverage of staff to respond to emergency calls, yet we bring on at least 10 and sometimes more than 30 additional Deputies and local Police Officers and target a certain area of Pinal County. We have been in every area of the county and have achieved great success through this DUI saturation.
The message is clear – you drive impaired by drugs or alcohol in Pinal County and you will be arrested. There are no breaks. You will not be allowed to park your car and get a ride home. You will go directly to jail.
PCSO has sponsored premium training for all local officers in Drug Recognition, which is an often overlooked and dangerous impairment of many drivers. Less than 1% of all sworn officers in America have this specialized training. National trainers Tim Gaffney of PCSO, Matt Slaughter of Mesa PD and Tom Gaupel from GOHS provided this training to our motorcycle team and many local Officers. This will further protect our families by improving officer’s ability to recognize and investigate all forms of DUI.
Together, our local Police Chiefs with your Sheriff’s Office have worked to improve traffic safety in a more meaningful manner. The Pinal County Regional DUI Task Force includes the Sheriff's Office, the Arizona Department of Public Safety, and the following police departments: Casa Grande, Gila River, Apache Junction, Coolidge, Florence, Eloy, Ak-Chin and Maricopa.
Aggressively enforcing DUI laws are most important since it is the leading cause of death in Pinal County for ages 6 to 33 and one in every three drivers will be involved in a DUI related car wreck in their driving lifetime.
We have made thousands of traffic stops and most are not impaired, yet we then have the opportunity to check for other violations. Deputies and Officers check for a valid Driver’s License, current vehicle registration, mandatory car insurance or even a warrant for their arrest. Arizona has among the highest number of uninsured vehicles, which is why our insurance costs are so expensive and another reason why many vehicles flee the scene of a car wreck. Many have arrested many because of these offenses and we have towed their cars and issued hundreds of additional traffic citations. All of this zero tolerance enforcement keeps our roads, streets and highways safer for all of our Pinal families.
These improvements are more examples of the fine work that our 700 full time men and women have achieved. I’m very proud of their hard work ethic and their discipline, as their work load (crime) has increased. Together, we are fully committed to improving operations and law enforcement service, until we attain our goal in becoming the finest Sheriff’s Office in Arizona.
Paul R. Babeu, Sheriff
Pinal County, Arizona