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Oct 25, 2012 6:07 PM by Karlisa Galarza

Pinal Co. deputy recognized as 'DUI Enforcement Officer of the Year'

FLORENCE, Ariz. - The Pinal County Sheriff's Deputy, Chris Calhoun, was selected as the "DUI Enforcement Officer of the Year" for the enforcement of the 2012 MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Drivers) operation.

Deputy Calhoun was awarded on October 11th, 2012 by Southern Arizona MADD, which recognizes the commitment made by individuals that make the streets a safer place through aggressive driving enforcement and sustained education, according to a news release from the Pinal County Sheriff's Office.

In 2011, Deputy Calhoun had 1,599 traffic stops, issued 959 citations, and arrested 94 drivers who were under the influence, the release states. Deputy Calhoun is nationally certified as the "Drug Recognition Expert," which less than 1 percent of all sworn enforcement officers in the United States are certified in.
Every year there are about 500 people killed driving on Arizona roadways because of alcohol and drug impaired drivers. This adds up to 17,000 deaths nationally each year.

MADD's mission is to "stop drunk driving, support the victims of this violent crime and prevent underage drinking." Since the enforcement of MADD, there have been nearly 300,000 lives saved, officials estimate. During 2009, Pinal County recorded that 50 percent of their fatal collisions were caused by alcohol and drug impaired drivers. In 2011, when DUI enforcement was stepped up, the average dropped to 6 perent. The number of drivers arrested for alcohol impaired driving has increased from 2009 to 2011 by 27 percent, the release states.

Sheriff Babeu, creator of the Pinal County Sheriff's Office Traffic Unit, believes that high visibility, zero tolerance enforcement and education for impaired drivers will help make the roads safer. "If you're going to drink, be responsible and plan ahead for a safe, sober ride home," says Sheriff Babeu.

The Arizona Governor's Office of Highway Safety has provided equipment to the sheriff's office such as motorcycles, DUI Task Force Command Van, portable breath testing devices, radar units, and much more, the release states.

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