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Alcohol detail comes to Fallbrook

On Friday night, March 6, approximately 24 officers from a variety of law enforcement agencies throughout San Diego County converged on Fallbrook to conduct the first-ever “zero tolerance” alcohol enforcement operation here.

In two-officer teams, the detail focused on cracking down on alcohol-related crimes and violations by scouring the Fallbrook area from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. for drunk drivers and incidences of public drunkenness.

“I’m extremely pleased with the results of the alcohol enforcement operation conducted in the Fallbrook area,” said Lt. Phil Brust, who assumes control of the Sheriff’s Fallbrook Substation this week upon Lt. Alex Dominguez’ retirement. “We successfully took a number of suspected drunk drivers off our streets and potentially saved lives in the process.”

During the operation’s timeframe, officers performed 109 traffic stops, administered 26 field sobriety tests, issued 25 citations, impounded nine vehicles and arrested eight people for driving under the influence (DUI). The majority of DUI arrests were made on South Mission Road and SR76. In addition, two individuals were arrested for felony DUI probation violations during the operation.

“Our mission going in was to provide an increased police presence in the community and target impaired drivers,” said Brust.

When individuals were found to be in violation of the law, they were taken to the Fallbrook Substation, where a Sheriff’s mobile command and transportation unit was located to process arrests.

“We have an Intoximeter

inside the mobile command unit,” said Brust, explaining that when a citizen is brought in they are instructed to blow twice into the machine. Both blood alcohol readings are recorded and become evidence if charges are levied. If a citizen refuses an Intoximeter test, there is an alternative.

“We have a phlebotomist on call to conduct blood tests,” explained Corporal Jason A. King.

Funding for the special alcohol-related operation was made possible by the Avoid Grant through the California Office of Traffic Safety.

King, who is in charge of San Diego County’s portion of the grant, said each alcohol enforcement detail, like the one conducted in Fallbrook, costs between $10,000 and $12,000.

“It’s well worth it, when you are talking about the possible loss of life and/or serious injury that can result from drunk drivers,” King said.

Sgt. Dave Gilmore, who led the March 6 operation for the Fallbrook Sheriff’s Substation, said he was pleased the Avoid Grant funds were available for use in the community and said more alcohol enforcement can be expected in the near future here.

Agencies that participated in the Fallbrook operation included the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department; California Highway Patrol; city police departments from San Diego, Oceanside, Carlsbad, La Mesa, Escondido and Coronado; and officers from California State Parks and the San Diego County Probation Department.

“These agencies and others are committed to keeping the streets of San Diego County safe for all of us,” Brust said.

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