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UPDATED: Riverside County Receives Nearly $900K To Nail Drunk Drivers

Funds will also go toward DUI prevention and awareness programs, including the "Every 15 Minutes" seminars taught to high school students by public safety officials.

A Nov. 3, 2013 crash at the Lake Elsinore/Wildomar line allegedly caused by a drunk driver. Photo/Daniel Lane
A Nov. 3, 2013 crash at the Lake Elsinore/Wildomar line allegedly caused by a drunk driver. Photo/Daniel Lane

UPDATED: Riverside County prosecutors will have more resources to go after drunken and drug-impaired drivers, thanks to $860,226 in grants that the Board of Supervisors today authorized the District Attorney's Office to use.

The California Office of Traffic Safety awarded the D.A.'s office a $484,939 grant and a smaller $375,287 grant, each of which is designated for anti-DUI prosecutions.

According to the D.A.'s office, the larger allocation will be used to bolster the agency's DUI Vertical Prosecution Team, comprised of three "specially-trained" deputy district attorneys assigned to handle prosecutions countywide.

The unit was activated last year with the goal of reducing "drug- impaired traffic fatalities and injuries by holding drug-impaired drivers accountable," according to a D.A.'s office statement. "During the first year of the grant operation, the unit obtained almost 300 convictions in drug- impaired driving cases."

The $375,000 disbursal will support a DDA and D.A.'s Office investigator working full-time on cases of DUI resulting in death or injuries.

Funds will also go toward DUI prevention and awareness programs, including the "Every 15 Minutes" seminars taught to high school students by public safety officials.

"Goals of this grant include reducing the number of persons killed and injured in DUI-related traffic collisions and increasing police officer and prosecutor expertise in DUI investigations and prosecutions," according to an agency statement.

Both grants are to be expended between now and Sept. 30. --City News Service

ORIGINAL POST: Riverside County has approved using a $484,939 grant to crack down on drunken and drugged driving.

Today, the Riverside County Board of Supervisors approved the renewal of the grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety. The money will be used to prosecute those who drive under the influence of alcohol and drugs, according to Riverside County District Attorney's Office spokesman John Hall.

The grant period extends from Oct. 1, 2013, through September 30, 2014. Funding for this program comes from a grant by the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The grant will enable the DA to assign three specially-trained deputy district attorneys to prosecute drug-impaired drivers in all regions of Riverside County, according to Hall.

The DA's office implemented a "DUI Vertical Prosecution Team" last year after applying to the California Office of Traffic Safety for funding. 

"The goal of the DUI Vertical Prosecution team is to prevent drug-impaired driving and reduce drug-impaired traffic fatalities and injuries by holding drug-impaired drivers accountable," according to a news release from Hall.

During the first year of grant operation, the unit obtained almost 300 convictions in drug-impaired driving cases. The California Office of Traffic Safety increased the grant award this year by providing funding for two additional prosecutors in order to expand the program countywide, Hall reported.

Prosecutors now assigned to the team are Deputy District Attorneys Julie Ching in the Western Division, Jeff Mendoza in the Eastern Division, and Rosie Semnar in the Southwest Division.


Infidel Jones January 08, 2014 at 12:28 PM
Typical POLICE STATE "safety" program...using FUNDS EXTORTED from Americans...to extort even more money!
Steve Newman January 08, 2014 at 03:15 PM
Infidel- tell me genius- how are the funds extorted from Americans? You are the smart one, remember. To extort you have to threaten a negative action on somebody in order to receive money from them to stop the negative action. Enlighten us.
ChrisG January 08, 2014 at 04:23 PM
I don't understand why the grants are for prosecutions? Shouldn't that money be spent on education?
Infidel Jones January 08, 2014 at 08:07 PM
OK, Mr. Newman, you snide buffoon--here's how it works: Politicians pass draconian drunk driving laws in the almighty name of "safety," and then cops and prosecutors set up unconstitutional "checkpoints" and other law "enforcement" actions. Motorists--many of whom haven't even caused an accident or injured others--are then forced to pay exorbitant fines, not to mention outrageous legal fees. This money then goes right back to the cops so they can extort even more money from the public. It's a fascist racket.
THELASTONEONTHEPLANE January 08, 2014 at 08:31 PM
if i spot a drunk driver, will i get some of that money???
Brenda January 08, 2014 at 10:38 PM
Omgosh, I love that name Steve!! "You snide buffoon". It totally ruined any other darn thing I was going to say on here supporting all/any funds given towards thwarting Drunk Driving and murders, serious injuries from them. Why is it so important that a drunk driver drives is my one question here? Can someone answer that? Because that is the bottom line here, not taxes, or where the money comes from or what programs they go to. The question, simple, bottom line is......Why is it so important to you folks who dislike the idea of any monies going to prevent, stop drunk drivers and stop the killing of innocent people, families, children, make you angry? Doesn't it make more sense to be mad at the idiotic drunks who drink and drive and kill people? They are the ones doing it.....and everyone should be really upset and want to save innocent lives. If it costs us 2 bucks in taxes to arrest one single drunk driver tonight then here is my 2 bucks! Infidel....can you not see my simple point? I make it simple so there is no confusing politics and who sits in that chair or who is on that side of the fence, and blah blah. I make it simple where its about saving lives.
Infidel Jones January 09, 2014 at 12:25 PM
Here's a synopsis of what I believe to be some of the more salient points regarding the issue at hand: 1) There is no reliable evidence pointing a significant, positive correlation between the expenditure of these funds and a reduction in traffic fatalities; 2) Many of the measures undertaken by police agencies in the name of "public safety" are unconstitutional, to wit: violations of the 4th Amendment; 3) The 'blood alcohol' limit of .08% (.05% under a certain age) is so low that it results in the arrest of conviction of many drivers who have neither caused injury/damage nor are severely impaired; conversely, the truly impaired (e.g., those driving with 'blood alcohol' levels of .15% or even .25%--are NOT deterred by these measures at all! 4) The end result is a system and cycle of EXTORTION that ruins far more lives than it saves!
Steve Newman January 09, 2014 at 06:06 PM
Oh God- Infidel is using big words again-talking down to us peons- book smart vs street smart- well he "supposedly has the book smart" LOL, but certainly not the street smarts. How is that for a salient point?
Infidel Jones January 09, 2014 at 08:39 PM
I'm sorry if a well-reasoned, erudite approach to the topic causes you distress. Your repetitive use of cliches serves only to point to a reluctance--or inability--to discuss the substantive issues at hand. If you wish to be characterized a "peon," who am I to disabuse you of that label? However--notwithstanding your apparent wish to serve as a self-anointed spokesman for the common man--there are many people who, though lacking advanced degrees or sophistication, agree with my stance.
Steve Newman January 10, 2014 at 07:24 PM
Infidel but they are all in your poli sci class. You only think you have an advance degree and sophistication- you probably have a resume on linkedin like Kleiner.
Infidel Jones January 11, 2014 at 12:28 AM
1) I've never taken a political science class, though there's nothing inherently suspect about doing so; 2) I'm not sure what you mean by an "advance" degree, but if your pitiful malapropism refers to an "advanced" degree, then yes--I have two: an M.A. and a J.D; 3) "Sophistication?" Well, I'll happily grant you that the concept is an inherently subjective one. However, I'd be hard-pressed to "boast" of credentials as desultory as yours; 4) I have no idea who 'Kleiner' is, but I must assume--from your indignant tone--that he's someone lacking your indispensable imprimatur.
Timber January 18, 2014 at 03:34 PM
As ChrisG points out, "Shouldn't that money be spent on education?" most do not realize that the OTS support of targeting teenagers with the "One every 15 minute" seminars makes for great PR but fails miserably in real world treatment of the underlying cause of drinking and driving. The seminars are laudable, but if the goal of this funding is to reduce said stated problem then what programs are funded to actually treat those that have demonstrated repeated drunk driving behavior. I submit NONE. One should take note that the funding is for prosecutions of such offenders, this happens AFTER the act is committed. In this model, funding for the prosecution of drunk driver's, the symbiotic relationship is retained and supported not treated and halted. This is akin to the medical profession dispensing medication for your symptoms and never addressing the causes of your condition. Good for big pharma and the doctors but not so good for your wallet and your health. If reducing DD is the goal then funding for treatment along with prosecutions would be the norm but treating those that commit the act, repeatedly, would undermine that symbiosis. So where is the funding that will directly improve all drivers abilities when engaging in this inherently dangerous activity of driving motor vehicles? Passing a written test through memorization then getting behind the wheel for a cruise around the block with a DMV agent sure doesn't cut it in my book.

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