Alameda County law enforcement authorities conducted a DUI warrant sweep that started early this morning.
The countywide law enforcement effort, which resulted in 52 arrests, is part of an annual warrant sweep that has been executed for the past five years, according to Jan Ford, public information director for Avoid the 21, a campaign sponsored by the Office of Traffic Safety and the Alameda County Chiefs of Police Association.
The program, which includes 21 separate law enforcement agencies in Alameda County, is based on education and zero tolerance enforcement of driving while under the influence. The campaign runs from mid-December through Jan. 3 each year.
“Our main focus is DUI arrests and DUI prevention,” Ford said. “This warrant service completes the loop.”
Today’s sweep, led by Livermore police officer Traci Rebiejo, began with a 6 a.m. briefing at the County Office of Emergency Services in Dublin. The 550 warrants were divided up among teams of officers from cities throughout Alameda County.
Individuals identified through the warrants that were approved by judges are said to have not followed court orders, an agency press release states.
After the briefing, the teams set out for violators’ homes and job sites to make arrests. Those rounded up were taken to the Santa Rita Jail. More arrests may be made in the coming days.
“All of this is very embarrassing,” Ford said.
She explained the movement started in 1973 in Santa Clara County.
“That year, there were 13 deaths in 17 days," she said. "Those were the bad old days.”
Ford said the program has been effective at keeping the roads safer during the holidays.
“These days, if we get one or two deaths during the crackdown, we are horrified.”
While it will be a couple of days before they will know exactly which cities had arrests, Ford said the sweep was a success.
“We brought in quite a few scofflaws today,” she said. “One was on the job at Safeway in Livermore.”
Some have had as many as five arrests, according to Ford.
“The repeat offenders are very, very dangerous,” she said.