County Probation to Monitor High-Risk Offenders
Source: Santa Barbara County Probation
The County of Santa Barbara has been awarded a $126,297 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) to the Probation Department, ensuring that high-risk, felony, and repeat DUI offenders are complying with all court orders. These offenders are over-represented in traffic crashes involving alcohol and other drugs, often with tragic results.
Santa Barbara County Probation Department Interim Chief Tanja Heitman stated, “We are committed to the safety of our community. Through this important partnership with the Office of Traffic Safety, we will increase our contacts with DUI offenders, which in turn will improve compliance with the terms of their supervision and ensure that they maintain their sobriety.”
The grant will allow Probation Department personnel to intensely monitor drivers on probation for felony DUI or multiple misdemeanor DUI convictions, including conducting unannounced home searches and random alcohol and drug testing, as well as special monitoring to ensure compliance with court-ordered DUI education and treatment programs.
This grant puts special focus on high-risk repeat DUI offenders aimed at reducing the number of persons killed and injured in alcohol and other drug related collisions in the County. In 2014, 12 persons were killed and 343 were injured in such crashes in Santa Barbara County.
“Probation orders help ensure that these offenders are not a risk to themselves or others,” said OTS Director Rhonda Craft. “By working on compliance, the Santa Barbara County Probation Department, with assistance from the Office of Traffic Safety, will be helping keep the streets across Santa Barbara County safe for all.”
While alcohol remains the worst offender for DUI crashes, the Probation Department supports the new effort from OTS that aims to drive awareness that "DUI Doesn't Just Mean Booze." Prescription medications and marijuana can also be impairing by themselves, or in combination with alcohol, and can result in a DUI arrest.
Funding for this grant is from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.