DUI Arrests by the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office Increase Dramatically

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The number of people arrested for DUI by the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office has increased dramatically because of its new DUI enforcement unit formed earlier this year. In fact, year over year, the number of DUI arrests are up more than 50%.

The PCSO’s DUI enforcement unit reached full staff about four months ago. The deputies on the DUI Unit work overnight shifts on Wednesday through Saturday each week. During the day the officers are often required to testify at hearings or at trials in court. Officers are also required to testify at formal review hearings at the Bureau of Administrative Reviews in Clearwater, FL.

The DUI Unit includes a sergeant and six deputies. The unit is supervised by Sgt. Howard Skaggs who worked for the original DUI unit for eight years and has served 26 years total with the sheriff’s office.

Several recent articles by the Tampa Bay Times discusses the dramatic increase – DUI arrests rebounding since Pinellas restored sheriff’s DUI unit. During the first nine months of 2012 only 521 people were arrested for DUI by the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office. During the first nine months of 2013, the number increased to more than 1,200 DUI arrests.

The increase in the number of arrests is directly attributable to the DUI enforcement unit. Before it was last eliminated in 2009 because of budget cuts, the sheriff’s office averaged between 1,400 and 1,500 DUI arrests a year. The number of DUI roadblocks or checkpoints in Pinellas County have also increased in 2013.

Article Updated on October 27, 2013.

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