Tucson group asking city to reconsider police and fire cutsPosted: Updated:
It's been about a week since the Tucson police department cut its DUI patrol unit in half in response to city budget cuts.
Now a group of Tucsonans, many victims of DUI related crashes, are trying to convince the city council to restore funding to police and fire.
Twenty-three years ago a man driving along I-10 crashed his car, killing Molly Steffens' 18-year-old daughter Brenda and a friend. His blood alcohol level was .247, more than three times the legal limit.
Now molly's trying to cope with the city council's plan to cut public safety budgets by 10%.
"That made me so angry I almost couldn't function that day because I couldn't understand it," said Molly.
Police certainly don't want cuts those deep either. Last week Chief Roberto Villasenor sent a memo to council, saying the department could only handle a maximum cut of 7.5%.
In response to the proposed cuts, TPD has already decreased its DUI squad from 15 to seven members.
In addition to city cuts, state funding for special DUI efforts has also been reduced this year by nearly $3 million.
A weekend deployment by the southern Arizona DUI task force, which includes Tucson police and 11 other agencies, came up with 45 DUI arrests.
Since Thanksgiving the task force has made 176 DUI arrests.