Program Type: Enforcement
Program Location: Florida
Lead Agency: Tallahassee Police Department
Partners: Florida Department of Transportation Safety Office
The Issue: General Drunk Driving
Program Target Population: Underage Offenders
Hardcore Offenders

Program Description:

The DUI Enforcement Program was created by the Tallahassee Police Department with three goals in mind: To increase impaired driving arrests 25%, to reduce impaired driving crashes by 25% and to reduce impaired driving fatal crashes by 50%. 

As a starting point, the department focused on providing enhanced training to law enforcement officers and created training materials to identify aspects of and assist with DUI investigations, the DUI arrest process, detection of DUIs and court room testimony on DUI cases.

The Tallahassee Police Department also worked to elevate the perception of risk for DWI arrests. In order to change behavior among the general population, people had to believe they would be caught if they drove while impaired by alcohol. The Department believed that an increased fear of being arrested would result in fewer people driving drunk.

One of the key components of the campaign was the selection of highly motivated law enforcement officers. Initially, 11 officers who were highly motivated in the area of traffic safety were chosen for the DUI enforcement program.  Eventually 15 additional officers were added to the program.

Another key element of the program was focusing scarce resources in key areas. Data revealed that in Tallahassee 50% of the DUI offenders were between the ages of 18-25 and more alcohol-related driving fatalities occurred on Tuesday nights than on any other night in the city. This data was utilized to focus enforcement activity during key times and at key locations.

Officers worked six nights a week to identify and arrest impaired drivers. Highly publicized saturation patrols and DUI checkpoints were utilized on high risk alcohol-related fatality timeframes (Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays). After each shift, officers were required to submit activity logs which were reviewed daily. Successful officers were recognized for their accomplishments. Costs per arrest were analyzed every three months.

Program Effectiveness:

In the first year of the program’s implementation (2010), compared to the previous year, there was a:

  • 58% increase in DUI arrests  (Officers were better trained to identify impaired drivers and were more comfortable with the DUI arrest process, leading to more traffic stops)
  • 13% increase in citations
  • 88% decrease in fatal crashes resulting from impaired driving
  • 37% reduction in fatal crashes
  • 19% reduction in crashes

Program Cost-Effectiveness/Funding:

  • This program is financed by local/state funding.
  • Daily monitoring of officers’ program enforcement efforts has led to increased activity during their shifts
  • Tri-monthly analyses of costs per arrest

Factors to Consider when Replicating the Program:

  • The importance of identifying and assigning highly motivated law enforcement officers who would be significantly dedicated to the program
  • Enhanced training for law enforcement officers
  • Maximize resources through data-driven enforcement strategies
  • Simplify paperwork to increase understanding and efficiency among officers
  • Publicize enforcement efforts to achieve general deterrence benefits

For more information on this program, please contact:

Calvin Bedenbaugh
DUI Coordinator
850-891-4243
calvin.bedenbaugh@talgov.com