DUI arrests increase in Gallatin County


DUI arrests increase in Gallatin County

BOZEMAN, Mont. - New numbers from Gallatin County show DUI arrests jumped 10percent in 2013.

Law enforcement agencies across the board, from the Bozeman Police Department to the Montana Highway Patrol, saw increases in DUI arrests.

There were a total of 776 arrests in Gallatin County last year. While that is the first increase in three years, it is still lower than almost all of the totals in the last decade.

The Gallatin County DUI Task Force credits better law enforcement training and more diligent officers.

Task Force Chairperson Scott Swanson says, "Our law enforcement agencies are increasing their focus on DUI. And if you don't want to go to jail, and if you don't want to hurt someone, don't drink and drive."

The increase in DUI arrests shows an increased effort from everyone from law enforcement through the court system to keep drunk drivers off the street and keep residents safe.

Bozeman Police Department Patrol Captain Dave McManis is proud of the increase in DUI arrests seen in 2013. It's an increase he attributes to well trained personnel.

McManis says, "There are indicators that someone is driving under the influence. The officers are more attuned to that."

He tells NBC Montana that a number of factors led to a lower number of arrests in 2012 which led him to step up his patrols.

He explains, "It's more of an increased focused patrol. More traffic stops, more contacts."

He told us about how his officers respond when dealing with a DUI suspect, "We're holding those individuals accountable. We have a new jail and we're putting them in jail now."

After someone suspected of driving under the influence is arrested, people working at Pre-Trial Services step in.

Director of Gallatin County Court Services Steve Ette says, "Anyone that's been arrested the night before we contact them and see if they're willing to allow us to do an interview with them. What we do is a risk assessment."

Ette explained that the increase in DUI arrests means an increase in work for his officers. "With the increased number of arrests, that does effect the staff. It's the increased number of people they have to interview and provide information to the courts."

But Ette tells us that it is important work that keeps the community safe, a sentiment echoed by McManis.

More Stories