Arrests for driving under the influence in Miami Beach have been noticeably down over the past few years. A reorganization of police patrol zones in 2011 meant that police ended up prioritizing efforts toward other crimes over catching those who were driving drunk. That was despite the fact that Miami Beach still has a high number of alcohol-related car crashes. In fact, of Florida cities with a population of more than 75,000, Miami Beach ranks sixth for crashes related to driver impairment despite its relatively low population and small size.
Well, the Miami Beach Police Department has now secured a $100,000 grant from the Florida Department of Transportation and will use that money to step up its DUI enforcement efforts.
So what does that mean? Well, you can expect more DUI checkpoints and saturation patrols all over the Beach next year. The money will be used, in part, to pay officers' overtime fees to work.
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In a letter to the Miami Beach Commission, City Manager Jimmy Morales says that each saturation patrol will "employ one sergeant and, at least, six police officers on overtime for the purpose of enforcing traffic laws and pursuing impaired drivers." Checkpoint operations "will involve one lieutenant (the checkpoint commander), one or two sergeants, fifteen police officers, one detention officer and one public safety specialist."
As per the law, all checkpoints and saturation patrols will be publicized by the department through social media and the traditional media. The department will also run an awareness campaign with the slogan "drive sober or get pulled over."
The department hopes to reduce impaired driver crashes by 3 percent, and up the amount of DUI arrests by 7 percent. The campaign will include a total of 21 saturation patrols and three checkpoints over the life of the grant.
In 2013, the Miami Herald reported that DUI arrests were now down to less than 500 a year after the patrol zone reorganization. In 2009, the department made close to 1,300 DUI arrests.