Arizona law enforcement picks up DUI enforcement during 4th of July weekend

Arizona law enforcement is beefing up DUI enforcement during the 4th of July weekend.
Published: Jul. 2, 2022 at 8:04 PM MST

PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Over the next few nights around the Valley, you’ll see a more significant law enforcement presence. Holiday DUI enforcement is just getting started.

“I would say the trend the past couple of years is we’re still seeing the alcohol DUIs obviously but we have seen an uptick in drug DUIs, especially marijuana now that it’s legal,” said Christina Smith, with the DUI squad with the Scottsdale Police Department.

Unlike DUIs, where alcohol is suspected, the most common way officers test for marijuana is through a blood test. Officers say symptoms between someone who is drunk or high are different.

“We will see the bloodshot, watery eyes,” Smith said. “There is different signs and symptoms, but its still very obvious when somebody is impaired by marijuana.”

More than 80 law enforcement agencies are a part of this weekend’s statewide saturation patrol.

“Saturation patrol is basically putting a bunch of officers in the same area,” said Smith. “So its designed for our presence and it’s to get impaired drivers off the road before they hurt somebody else or themselves.”

“If I have a squad of 5, we might pull 5 cars over and arrest a DUI in each of those cars, but while we’re dealing with that you might have 100 cars, 200 cars going past that are also impaired,” said Sgt. Luke Trader, who is part of the DUI Squad with the Tempe Police Department.

This East Valley DUI task force is made up of 9 agencies.

“So this setup makes the processing a lot faster. When we find an impaired driver who is cooperative we can bring them here and it gets them processed and back home faster. However, we have to give them a sober ride, they can’t drive from here, obviously,” Smith said.

Impaired drivers caught won’t spend the night in jail, but the consequences can be deadly.

“It can be a life altering, life changing event and that’s in the case that nothing happens the night of the incident. If you flip it to where something happens, such as a bad car accident, that can change your life forever,” said Sgt. Trader.