DUI heroes?

The S.C. Dept. of Public Safety has the results of the 7th Annual DUI Enforcement and 2011 Law Enforcement DUI Challenge recognition ceremonies posted on their website, where officers are given awards based on the number of DUI arrests that they made over the course of the year (2011).  Officers are ranked in the Bronze, Silver, or Gold categories, based on the number of arrests – the highway patrol troop that covers Horry County took the Gold category by storm, with 24 officers rewarded for making 50 or more arrests each during the year 2011.  Out of a total of 78 Gold awards, Troop 5 took about 31% out of all law enforcement agencies statewide.  Two Myrtle Beach police department officers and one Conway police department officer were given a Gold award as well.

Although I don’t see any mention of it on SCDPS’s website this year, in the past officers have been awarded prizes such as Dodge Chargers and Chevy Tahoes based on the number of arrests that they make.  DUI enforcement is a lucrative business for organizations like MADD, for municipalities who depend on fine money for income, for law enforcement agencies who depend on grant money which is justified by the number of arrests made, and by solicitor’s offices who depend on grant money for the salaries of special DUI prosecutors.

The awards, rewards, grant monies, and recognition is based not on the quality or accuracy of DUI arrests, it is based solely on the number of arrests made.  When officers are competing for recognition or even material rewards, and when grant money creates law enforcement jobs solely for the purpose of making DUI arrests, the number of arrests officers make justifies their job and their paycheck.  At best, there is no exercise of discretion and officers may err on the side of arresting people regardless of the proof.

At worst, you may recall this story from last year, where an officer was named “Utah Highway Patrol Trooper of the year,” for making over 200 DUI arrests in 2007, has been fired and is now the subject of a class action lawsuit based on the number of false arrests that she made where her victims were not intoxicated.

2 Responses to “DUI heroes?

  • Shawn Antonio
    6 years ago

    I personally know too well about false convictions after being arrested and convicted of felony DUI with no field sobriety test, a B.A.C. under the legal limit of 0.08%, and witnesses testifying on my sobriety. I lost a friend and a life since my conviction has been added to from the DMV, the courts, and public opinion when it comes to employment. My B.A.C. was changed to 0.08% on paperwork while my transcript and test results say otherwise. I live everyday knowing that even though my best friend’s family came to my defense, it doesn’t matter when there are notches to be had for political gain.

  • Ann Williams
    5 years ago

    Same here. My tire blew and you know it…Completely fabricated and I was going to work. Lost a well earned career and two years later, they are just now getting around to prosecuting even though they are well aware that the entire incident was falsified…Would not even here any pre-trial motions and jury strick is next week. I’m on the streets and can’t even eat while this bastard is getting a cushy bonus…You can’t buy your way out, you get convicted of a trumped up Admiralty claim. I’m on a mission. This has got to stop.

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