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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.


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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