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Pace of DUI Arrests Slows but Still Off the Charts

Here's an update on the story from last week about the alarming rate of drunken driving arrests.

One week ago we mentioned the alarming rate of DUI arrests in Novato so far in September. It's worth taking a look to see if the trend continued.

Acting Lt. Jennifer Welch said through Sept. 16 there have been 21 arrests for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs by Novato police officers, giving us a rate of 1.3 per day. In the first nine days there were 18 arrests, or a 2.0 daily rate, so the incidents have curtailed significantly.

Still, we're on an unprecedented surge because the monthly average has been 15.6 arrests over the past two years. Even at 1.3 per day, that would lead to about 51 arrests if the rate continues. Since September 2011, the worst month for DUI arrests was July 2012 when there were 26.

Novato PD has strong support from the community if its judged by the poll we ran on Patch last week. When we asked "What kind of job is Novato PD doing to combat drunken driving?," 87 percent answered either very good or outstanding.

In reference to the drunken motorcyclist who killed a 9-year-old girl in a Novato crosswalk three years ago, reader Craig Belfor wrote, "Maybe in addition to being more vigilant, the cops are less tolerant, and less likely to let someone off with just a warning, all in the aftermath of that terrible incident in San Marin."

Sandra Hess wrote that Novato needs more entertainment options that are not focused around the consumption of alcohol.

"Novato celebrates alcoholic drinking, especially wine," she wrote. "In this same Patch, (there was) a significant writeup on the new town winery. Another place to drink. The Art and Wine Festival each year. ... and basically little to nothing to do in the town at night but drinking establishments. No late-night coffee houses with entertainment."

Mark Burnham countered that Novato doesn't celebrate alcohol consumption any more than other towns and issued a challenge to Hess regarding a late-night coffee house.

"Perhaps if you feel strongly about it, and you believe there is a market for it, you should open your check book, sign a lease, and open one," he wrote.

Several readers mentioned that Novato officers don't have enough else to do, so they are especially vigilant when looking out for DUI drivers (a check on calls for service around the city clearly disprove that). But someone signed on as Just My Opinion stuck up for the cops.

"I would think that you would be thanking the officers out there doing their jobs, at a risk to their own safety. Making traffic stops is what kills many officers (like the CHP officer they laid to rest). I for one say thank you and keep up the good work."

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Jerome J Ghigliotti Jr September 20, 2012 at 12:08 AM
Thank you NPD and CHP for getting DUI potential murders off the road. Now if only Sacramento and the local judges would take the problem seriously.
NovatoGuy September 20, 2012 at 04:01 AM
Agree. But they won't do it.

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