Cinco de Mayo: DUI task force ready to nab underage drinkers, drunk drivers in Tempe

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by Catherine Holland

Video report by Yetta Gibson

Posted on May 3, 2013 at 1:07 PM

Updated Monday, May 6 at 10:47 AM

Map: East Valley DUI Task Force locations
Mill & University
Galleria parking lot

View larger map

TEMPE, Ariz. -- The East Valley DUI Task Force will be hitting the streets I a big way this weekend as people all over the Valley raise a glass or two to celebrate Cinco de Mayo.

The goal is to cut down on both underage drinking and driving while impaired.

"The underage drinkers still go out, still drive, also," Tempe Sgt. Dale Hoobler told 3TV's Yetta Gibson. "What we're trying to do is get to those bad decisions before they become bad decisions."

"The problem with DUIs and impaired driving is that you get a new group of people every year," he continued. "You get a new group of 21-year-olds, so it's a training type of thing, an education type of thing. It's a learning experience. We need to try to affect them ahead of time so it doesn't get to be that fatal wreck that happens."

On May 3-4, the task force command post will be stationed at the southwest end of the Arizona State University parking lot at Mill Avenue and University Drive. On May 5, the task force command post will be stationed at the Galleria parking lot located at 7300 E. Shoeman Lane, just east of Scottsdale Road in Scottsdale.

"We try to put it in an area where there's going to be a lot of driving, a lot of bars, those types of things, for visibility reasons," Hoobler said.

Hoobler advised people to be smart and make appropriate plans ahead of time if they're going to be drinking this weekend -- or any time for that matter.

"Make sure you have a designated driver," he said. "Make those plans before you actually drink."

"We encourage people to be responsible and safe," said Sgt. Tim Bulson, who is responsible for the DUI Squad. "If you are going to drink, don't drive. Have a plan, identify a designated driver, take a cab, or use mass transportation such as Light Rail.

"Our focus is to remove impaired drivers from our roadways," he said.

Last year, Tempe police made nearly 2,000 DUI arrests citywide. That was down from 2,100 in 2011.

The Tempe Police Department says its officers will be very visible across Tempe and the downtown district in addition to ensuring that the entire city is safely patrolled this holiday weekend.

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