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Officers check compliance of felony DUI probationers

On Friday night, Jan. 29, seven officers from the San Diego County probation department and two detectives from the Sheriff’s department performed compliance checks on 18 area residents that are on probationary status following felony driving-under-the-influence (DUI) convictions.

Funded by a one year grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, the effort was done under the guidelines of the State Route 76 DUI Corridor Safety Project that was enacted in August 2009.

Officers conducted personal visits on the probationers from 5:30 to 11 p.m. that evening and administered breathalyzer tests to determine if they were in compliance with their alcohol restriction.

“Every one of the individuals they visited was 100% within compliance,” said Sheriff’s Lt. Phil Brust. “We are very pleased with those results for obvious reasons.” Brust said the individuals contacted in the Jan. 29 operation were “serious felony offenders.”

“These individuals have a history of DUI-related offenses. They could have more than one DUI arrest, or have been involved in a traffic accident involving a DUI that resulted in someone sustaining a minor, major, or fatal injury,” he explained. These individuals, Brust said, could also have done regional or state prison time, been released, and remain on probation for their initial offense.

Those probationers contacted had what is known as a “Fourth Waiver,” in which the individual has agreed, in advance, to waive any objections to searches and seizures without officers meeting the requisite Fourth Amendment conditions that call for probable cause and the obtaining of a search warrant.

“To contact them and find 100% compliance is surprising and gratifying that they are staying within the scope of their probation and honoring the terms of their probation,” he said.

Not only does the grant allow for operations such as this, it affords more law enforcement presence in general on SR76.

“It puts more officers on the 76 highway to address any traffic violations; it’s a safety grant for the entire 76 corridor,” said Brust.

Brust said the additional resources given to law enforcement agencies last year to patrol and enforce laws on SR76 are already starting to make a difference.

“We all know the 76 corridor is traditionally not a safe route of travel, and there have been many fatal accidents on the 76,” he said. “Statistically, the grant is working.”

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