Arrests of drivers suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol by the have increased more than 116 percent over the past year, according to the department's recently released 2010 annual report. The uptick in DUI arrests was labeled by Capt. Larry Giannone of the SMPD as the result of better training for officers on recognizing potential DUIs.
"We sent several of our people to updated classes, and they're out there in the field more and able to recognize them," Gianonne said. "I truly correlate that to training and the new fresh officers out there doing their job."
The surge in DUI arrests following recognition training for SMPD officers coincides with a 24 percent increase in so-called "Self-Initiated Activity," a number the report graphs alongside "Calls for Service," which have actually seen a slight decline.
In fact, looking backward over the last five annual reports from the SMPD shows a sharp, steady increase in self-initiated activity, with the increase since 2006 coming in at 144 percent. DUIs over that same period have increased 135 percent.
"We have a newer group of people that along with our older group are really working in conjunction together to be more visible and have that high police presence in the community," Giannone said. "When you do that you're going to have that increase in self-initiated activity."
Giannone said that the positive side to such increased vigilance by the department can translate directly into fewer calls for service "because people are not becoming victims of crime or seeing suspicious people."
Over the same five-year period between 2006 and 2010, calls for service decreased by around 3 percent.
2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 Percent Increase (5yr)
DUI Arrests 26 49 45 28 61 135% Calls for Service 4,739 5,490 5,295 4,696 4,597 -3% Self-Initiated Activity 4,310 7,386 8,413 8,444 10,526 144%