San Luis Obispo County law enforcement agencies are sweeping the area for individuals who have outstanding warrants for their arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
The warrant sweep is part of a grant that was issued to the county under the AVOID the 14 project, during which officers physically go to the homes of DUI offenders, arrest them, and force them to adhere to the consequence of their violation.
The project serves as a message to the public that driving while intoxicated is an offense that will not be ignored or forgotten.
Officer Jerry Waterlander said the agencies are not trying to be sneaky about the process and that information about the sweeps is public knowledge.
“It is for people avoiding court dates,” Waterlander said. “They have to go back to jail, appear before a judge. Some might try to leave, but we will round them up eventually.”
Although one sweep was recently completed, Waterlander said officers are still working on a daily basis to crack down on violators.
He said that the people being arrested for these crimes range greatly in economic status, age and occupation. Students do not comprise the majority of offenders.
“It’s not swayed,” said Waterlander. “The students here at Cal Poly seem to be more responsible. It’s about 50/50.”
Waterlander said that most DUI arrests occur within a five-mile radius of downtown.
“People think that it’s a small town, and since they don’t live far away, it is okay to drive home,” Waterlander said. “If you are going to go out, designate a driver. There is nothing wrong with having fun, but have a plan.”
Drunk-in-public arrests should be avoided as well, he warned. Although walking may seem like a better alternative to driving, walking home intoxicated places you in the position for becoming the target of a crime, Waterlander said.
Alcohol poisoning is another issue for students to be aware of.
“Don’t overindulge,” Waterlander said. “Almost every year we get a student that dies of alcohol poisoning.
An additional sweep will be set at a later time during the year.