Guam – The Guam Police Department today [Tuesday] announced a new get tough policy for drunk drivers.
In a campaign titled “Over the Limit, Under Arrest; Booked and Confined” individuals arrested for drunk driving will now spend at least 1 night in jail when they are arrested.
The policy change goes into effect this Saturday night.
Previously, DUI suspects were booked, and allowed to go home in the company of a family members or their unit commander. But from now on there will be a mandatory overnight stay in the Hagatna lockup, no exceptions.
Guam Police Chief Frank Ishizaki announced the new policy at a news conference this morning at the Office of Civil Defense. Representatives from Park Police, Port Authority Police and Airport Police were all present and signed on to support the new policy.
Chief Ishizaki, referring to the growing number of DUI arrests, said “there is a clear need” for the change.
According to statistics released by GPD:
GPD DUI Stats given at the joint Law Enforcement press release this morning held at Homeland Security / Civil Defense.
GPD STATS DUI ARREST
2007 DUI Arrest 790 Under 21 yrs. 58 Under 18 0
2008 DUI Arrest 677 Under 21 yrs. 70 Under 18 0
2009 DUI Arrest 1146 Under 21 yrs. 116 Under 18 0
2010 DUI Arrest 382 (As of Jun 30) Under 21 yrs. 41 Under 18 2
YEAR TOTAL ALCOHOL RELATED VIOLATOR UNDER 21
2007 24 11 9-D/2-PED 1
2008 8 5 4-D/1 PED 0
2009 13 9 7-D/2PED 1
2010 10 2 2-D 0
In addition, GPD Captain Steve Ignacio also said that over the “last 4 years there have been 55 fatal car crashes.” And of that number he said “27 or 49% were alcohol related.” He called that “an alarming rate.”
Chief Prosecutor Dianne Corbett from the Guam Attorney General’s Office was also on hand to pledge the AG’s support for the program. “We are optimistic that we’ll be able to have the resources and put together a team within our office who will solely dedicate themselves to addressing the issues of drunk drivers on the streets of Guam.”
Corbett also said that she has spoken with Superior Court Judge Elizabeth Barrett Andersen who has promised to co-operate with the enforcement action and assist in processing the backlog of DUI cases which currently are being set for trial 9 months to a year in the future. “We hope to resolve many of these cases at arraignment,” said Corbet.
Department of Corrections Captain Jessi Tupaz said that they plan on dedicating one cell at the Hagatna lock-up as a “drunk tank” which could house up to 4 DUI suspects a night.